Dad Info – the world’s first integrated dads’ information service

20 May 2008

Hundreds of NHS hospitals, the British Armed Forces, major employers and local authorities are delivering the world’s first integrated dads’ information service, launched in May 2008 and developed by a team from the Fatherhood Institute.

The new service is a response to increasing involvement of fathers in children’s lives and their demand for reliable and accessible information on health and other issues.

Dad Info is a privately financed publication without Government subsidy or grant. The service aims to be useful to the half a million British men who become dads each year, as well as to the estimated 8 million who are already fathers – and to the mothers and professionals who support them.

What does ‘DAD Info’ consist of?

The Dad Info websiteThe Dad Info service is based at www.dad.info. In addition to the website, the service consists of credit card-sized, concertina-style folding Dad Cards – designed to be distributed by family professionals as an integral part of a more father-inclusive service. The Dad Cards also direct fathers to www.dad.info.

Currently there are three versions of the Dad Card:

• Maternity Dad Cards for expectant fathers (FREE! to the NHS). For more details click here.

• Early Years Dad Cards (VERY INEXPENSIVE – from as little as 39p per card – and available to Local Authorities, Children’s Centres, and other Early Years Services). For more details click here.

• Specialist Dad Cards for black and minority ethnic fathers (FREE! to services, charged only for P & P). The following cards are currently available: African Caribbean (in English); Muslim (in English); West African (in French); Polish (in Polish); Bengali/Sylheti (in Bengali); Somali (in Somali). For more details click here.

N.B. Services can commission specialist versions of all the Dad Cards – and specialist pages on www.dad.info. For further information email Dad Info.

Who is buying or distributing the Dad Cards?

Dad card boxSo far:

• The British Armed Forces are providing Dad Cards to new fathers serving overseas

• A significant number of Local Authorities have bought Early Years Dad Cards, including Essex County Council, England’s second largest local authority, which has bought 128,000 to provide Dad Info to their fathers via 60 children’s centres

• The Maternity Dad Card for expectant fathers is being provided by more than 270 (of 330) maternity units across the UK (for a list, click here).

• Lloyds TSB and BT are among employers providing the service to their employees in the workplace.

What’s on the DAD Info cards and website?

The Dad Cards and website cover:

• all aspects of pregnancy, birth and new parenthood from a dad’s perspective, including the most important health issues for his partner and baby
• information on paternity leave and fathers’ legal rights, including Parental Responsibility
• sex during and after pregnancy
• the financial help available to families
• entertainment such as ‘the best toys for dads’.

Each article has a comment system that allows dads to debate the issues and add their knowledge to the site.

On the site, dads can buy:

• Nappy changing bags designed for dads (as used by Brad Pitt). Click here for more details
• Gift packs for new mothers. Click here for more details
• the ‘Hello Dad!’ DVD on how dads can boost their baby’s brain power – which all maternity services should buy and use with mothers as well as fathers! Click here for more details.

Dad posterDad Info posters

These striking posters link in with the Dad Card range, and help professionals advertise to the fathers using their service, that they are distributing the cards.

Like with the Dad Cards, professionals can buy the posters direct through the Fatherhood Institute website. Click here for more details.

What are professionals saying about the DAD Info service?

Sue Chapman, Head of Midwifery at Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust: “We welcome partners in supporting the women in our care and are keen to share as much information as possible to empower them to feel comfortable in their role. They are very important in the whole birth process and we are delighted to support the campaign to enhance their knowledge about the health of their Mum to be.”

Sally Real, Early Years and Childcare Area Manager, Essex County Council: “We will be distributing the Dad Cards through the county’s 60 Children’s Centres. They are a great way to help us reach fathers with information about available services and support presented in a friendly, accessible format.”

Rachel Ambler, Consultant Midwife in Public Health, The Whittington Hospital, London: “Like every maternity unit, we have contact with fathers every day. Our fathers come from a very diverse range of ethnic groups. Dad Info will helps us to communicate with them more effectively and we are particularly keen to use the special cards that Dad Info is producing for minority ethnic groups.”

Gayle Woods – Midwife and lead on parent education, Tameside Hospital, Manchester: "We’re currently improving our parent education service and hoping to get new dad classes up and running soon. We recommend to our expectant dads that they go to www.dad.info as the content on the site covers everything they need to know."

Caroline Waters, Director, People and Policy at BT: “We recognise that dads have family responsibilities and increasingly want a greater role in the lives of their children. Indeed at BT men are as likely to work flexibly as women in order to balance their commitments. Promoting Dad Info to BT dads as well as mums will enable us to offer access to a wide range of information and material, suggesting ideas about how to balance work and caring and how mums and dads can share roles with each other."

Fiona Cannon, Head of Group Equality & Diversity, Lloyds TSB: “Family friendly practices are vital to retaining experienced and talented employees. At Lloyds TSB parents are a valuable part of the workforce and we work hard to create a culture that enables parents to balance their caring responsibilities at home with the demands of their role. Becoming a parent is a life changing experience, so it’s essential that new parents have the resources at hand to explain the options and services available to them in both the workplace and wider community. The new Dad Info service will make a very welcome addition to the resources available to organisations and I’m sure will become an invaluable hub of information for new and expectant dads.”

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