Ten top tips for father-inclusive practice
Fathers Direct’s 10 top tips for father-inclusive practice are as follows…
1) LOOK AT THE WORLD FROM THE CHILD’S POINT OF VIEW
All staff will then HAVE to engage with biological fathers because they’ll recognise how much they matter to children – including to children who rarely or never see them.
2) RECOGNISE AND SUPPORT FATHER-FIGURES
These guys have huge impact, but hardly anyone helps them think about their difficult role. You don’t have to choose between them and the biological dad. Support them both!
3) HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF FATHERS
Don’t assume: investigate. Value the positive. Challenge the negative – and be intolerant of fathers’ slipping out of children’s lives.
4) CARRY OUT A MALE INVOLVEMENT AUDIT
Audit the dads and men who use, are touched by, and work in your service(s). Also audit staff attitudes and practice in engaging (or not engaging) with dads. Only when you know where you are, can you see where you need to get to.
5) REVIEW YOUR CHILD/FAMILY REGISTRATION FORMS
Routine collection of fathers’ and father-figures’ details – and contacting them systematically – is our TOP TIP. Sometimes, when asking mothers for this information, you may need to explore why this is important, and address concerns.
6) INVITE DADS PERSONALLY TO SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES
. . . especially EDUCATIONAL activities – and follow up regularly if the dads don’t show: write, phone, text. Include non-resident fathers and ensure your service is inviting (are there positive pictures of dads around?) and accessible (is it offered at times working dads can make?).
7) LIMIT YOUR USE OF THE ‘P’ WORD!
P is for Parent, and most fathers don’t feel included when it is used. Whenever possible, say (and write) ‘mums and dads’ or ‘fathers and mothers’.
8) TELL DADS HOW THEIR INVOLVEMENT BENEFITS THEIR KIDS
Fathers are most likely to come to your service(s) if they understand why their presence benefits their children. (And if you don’t know why yourself, find out from http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org).
9) LEAD FROM THE TOP
This ensures a ‘whole team’ approach (work with fathers should never be the responsibility of just one staff member) and only succeeds when senior management’s expectations are robust, and staff understand WHY it’s important and the basics of HOW it’s done. Fathers Direct’s Fatherhood Quality Mark (FQM) and training and consultancy can help you achieve this.
10) BE INTOLERANT OF FAILURE TO ENGAGE WITH DADS
Take the stance that men have to be involved in assessments and family interventions for the sake of their children; refuse to accept a referral without reference to the biological father and to any key father-figures.
© Fathers Direct, February 2007
Tags: African-Caribbean fathers, Domestic violence, Drugs and alcohol, Early years, For employers, Imprisoned fathers, International, Maternity, Muslim fathers, Parenting education, Schools, Separated families, Vulnerable families