Hit the Ground Crawling: a peer mentoring scheme for new dads

21 March 2007

Support for Fathers around the Birth: an Invitation to Work in Partnership with the Fatherhood Institute

The Fatherhood Institute is looking for a small number of agencies in the UK with whom to pilot a new group-mentoring method of supporting fathers, called Hit the Ground Crawling. It is simple, cheap to run, flexible and well suited to the way that groups of men access information and support.

This approach will enable agencies to:

• develop high quality services to support positive father-child relationships;
• fulfil key Government policy objectives about engaging with fathers, including those in the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy; the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services; and the Children’s Centre Core Offer and Practice Guidance; and
• meet statutory obligations about equal treatment of men and women in public services (as is now required by the Gender Equality Duty, enshrined in the Equality Act 2006, which became law in April 2007).

Hit the Ground Crawling simply involves small groups of expectant fathers spending an afternoon with two or three fathers who have recently had babies (“mentor fathers”), with those babies present. A trained facilitator is present in the group, but other than that, there is no curriculum or list of things “to tell the expectant fathers”. Instead the expectant fathers are simply given the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and concerns with other fathers, and have the chance to see practical babycare by fathers in action – changing nappies, cuddling, massaging, etc.

The role of the facilitator is also to identify among the expectant fathers those who could in future come back to future groups as mentor fathers. Mentor fathers subsequently come back to only a few groups on a voluntary basis.

This approach is adapted for the UK from a highly successful US model, which has run there over a number of years already.

Participating organisations will receive:

  • 2 days training for facilitators and first mentor fathers, with the lead US trainer visiting the UK and co-training with Fatherhood Institute trainers
  • Four sets of the Hit the Ground Crawling manuals and materials
  • A permanent licence to operate the method in the future
  • On-going back-up support as the method is established at the local level. This involves one site visit by Fatherhood Institute staff in the first year, regular phone support throughout the year, and a whole day peer support and networking session for all the pilot sites facilitated by Fatherhood Institute staff.
  • Further opportunity to partner with Fatherhood Institute in testing new materials for new fathers that are going to be produced over the next two years.

Cost: £5,000 per agency.

Contact: Kathy Jones 07867 761251 or k.jones@fatherhoodinstitute.org, or leave a message with our main office: 0845 634 1328
Hit the Ground Crawling program overview

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