Consulting with Mothers in Development of Father-Inclusive Services

9 February 2009

Here is a model approach, developed by the Fatherhood Institute, to consulting with mothers and staff during the process of developing father-inclusive services…

INTERVIEWER’S OPENING REMARK: “We are developing our services so that they support fathers’ (and male carers) relationships with their children more effectively. We would like your views to help us get this right. What do you think are the . . .

1. BENEFITS/COSTS TO CHILDREN AND MUMS. If more dads come along to the Children’s Centre/our school/our Parenting Course, how do you think that will affect (i) their children (ii) local mums (including you)? (PROMPT: Feel free to mention both benefits and costs)

2. ISSUES. Thinking about the local dads you know, what sort of issues do they face that you think our/Sure Start/ services could help with? (PROMPT: eg knowing how to support their partner in pregnancy/labour; knowing how to play with and talk to their kids; being a confident dad; being a supportive partner; having somewhere to take the kids; meeting other dads; balancing work and home life; keeping in contact with their children after divorce/separation; other?)

3. SERVICES. Thinking about local dads you know, what sort of services/activities might they be interested in (PROMPT: eg activities with their children (swimming, parent and toddler groups, etc); family trips and events; information about parenting and children; special issues such as enjoying teenagers/disciplining children/how to increase their child’s brainpower/how to support their education/dads’ breakfast club; legal /financial /employment advice sessions; training courses like DIY, computers, cooking or martial arts; sports; other)

4. MEN ONLY? Do you think it would encourage local dads you know to attend if some of the services were just for men or for men and their children? Do you think this would be a good idea? (PROMPT: Is it what men want? Is it fair to women?)

5. TIME AND PLACE. When are the dads you know most likely to access services? (PROMPT: daytime, evenings, weekends) Would men feel comfortable in our Sure Start venues/the school? What other local venues would men feel most comfortable in? (PROMPT: What helps men feel comfortable/welcome?)

6. DIFFERENT GROUPS OF DADS. Do you think different types of dads/dads in different circumstances need different or separate services? If so, what could these be? (PROMPT: eg non-resident dads, young dads, different ethnic communities etc)

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