Study says maternity services exclude young black fathers

20 December 2005

Young expectant fathers feel marginalised and discounted by maternity services and wider family, a study of a Fathers Direct/St Michael’s project has found.

The project, carried out by a team from Bristol University in partnership with Sure Start Tulse Hill (London), found that young Black men’s past experiences in the educational and employment systems may render their expectations of inclusion particularly low. There was little confirmation of the young man and woman’s status as the parental couple with a shared responsibility for and investment in their child’s future well-being. Wider family’s attendance at clinic appointments or the birth usually made the men feel pushed out; very few were confident enough to ask questions of health professionals; and many described considerable anxieties about money, housing and work that had become more acute since the confirmation of the pregnancy – and which no professional they met addressed in any way.

“It is important for leaders within the NHS to operate systemically to educate their teams about the value of engaged fatherhood” says Dr Pollock: “Recording the man’s name, and using it, making eye contact and addressing both parents can have a big impact." The clinic environment can give a powerful message about whether men are expected to be there, and could act as a gateway to relevant services. Special materials ‘for dad’ are vital: they acknowledge a young father’s value, provide vital information and establish on-going links with early years support services.

You can download a copy of the report by right clicking the link below and selecting "Save Target As…"

Tulse Hill Report

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