Summary of research on fathers’ exclusion by social workers

12 February 2007

Fathers, and the positive contribution they could make to the lives of their children, have long been neglected in social work theory, research, policy and practice, according to Gary Clapton, lecturer in social work at the University of Edinburgh.

Writing in Fathers Matter: Research Findings on Fathers and their Involvement with Social Care Services – a report published by the Family Rights Group – he argues that despite advances in bringing fathers into services such as the Sure Start initiatives, much of social work practice remains ignorant of the value of seeking to involve them.

The book provides many examples of the neglect and exclusion of fathers from discussions about the welfare of their children. Mary Ryan’s review of the literature is followed by a report from interviews with both young fathers and mothers that delves into how young men can be helped to be involved in the lives of their children.
The chapter Dads’ Talk discusses 30 men’s experiences of involvement with welfare services and concludes that “professionals need to be able to engage with fathers’ versions of events in an open and exploratory way”.

For more details and to obtain copies, visit the Family Rights Group website.