DAD Packs and DAD Cards widely used by Children’s Centres

29 May 2009

These wonderful resources for Children’s Centres and other Early Years Services produced by are now being used in a range of ways, to help services fulfil their obligations to reach out to fathers, and to “Think Fathers” in every aspect of their work.  This short article describes the uses to which these products are being put (May, 2009).

What is Dad Info? is an independent information resource for fathers (currently with particular emphasis on expectant and new fathers, and on fathers of under 5’s).  Originally developed by the Fatherhood Institute, consists of an excellent website with lots of information for fathers, and the hard-copy DAD Packs and DAD Cards described here.

What are the DAD Packs and the DAD cards?

The DAD Cards are credit-sized fold-up cards with basic information about the role and importance of fathers for children on small fold-out pages.  These are sold in packs of 100.  The minimum order is 200 for £78 + P&P + VAT, with substantial reductions for larger quantities.

The DAD Packs consist of an A5 “pocket” containing substantial information for fathers on double-sided A5 cards, and on posters, which can be unfolded and put on the wall.  These are sold in packs of 20.  The price for a pack of 20 is £69 + P&P (no VAT).

How do Children’s Centres make use of them? sent an email to a number of centres and received back about 80 emails in two days.  This was enough feedback to give a good picture of how the cards and packs are being used.

Broadly speaking, the more substantial Dad Packs are used in one-to-one work with fathers, where there is already face-to-face contact.  Dad Cards, on the other hand, are used more in outreach work.

Where do Children’s Centres place the DAD Cards?

On the premises

Making cards available on the premises of Children’s Centres is common practice.

Some centres go a step further:

  • a dad’s display board in the entrance hall or other prominent place (Pleasley Hill CC in Mansfield, Harvey CC in Bolton, Camrose CC in Northampton)
  • cards in every room in the centre (Sea Breeze CC in Felixstowe)
  • cards in the male toilets (Little Owls CC in Pontefract, Grove Park CC in Sittingbourne).

In welcome packs

Another widespread practice is to include the cards in welcome packs, which are sometimes given to every family in the area when a baby is born (e.g. South Acton CC in London).  Moorends CC in Doncaster ensures that visits to families are arranged when both parents are present and Heath Lane CC in Hemel Hempstead is considering how to make this approach inclusive of parents who live separately.  Butterflies CC in Southport also includes a questionnaire for fathers in their welcome pack.

In antenatal services

Children’s Centres running antenatal services use the cards.  Kirsty Jones of Hayle CC writes: “Feedback from dads attending is that it is great to have information available that is aimed at them specifically.”  Other centres give cards to the local midwives, for example, North Worksop CC and Newstead CC.  Riverside CC in Canterbury puts cards in the areas where parents wait for antenatal checks.

In outreach

The cards are used as a tool for outreach by many Centres. Pat Bishop of Greenfield CC in Waltham Cross wrote “it is very useful to have information especially for dads and male carers”.  Examples include:

  • copies in Jobcentre Plus (Ladywell Early Childhood Centre)
  • copies in packs for community groups (Sea Breeze CC in Felixstowe)

For information on ordering

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