Six good practice ‘taster sessions’ from our conference

15 November 2010

At the Fatherhood Institute’s Engaging fathers as partners conference in central London on Thursday 11 November 2010:

Martin Clement, team manager from the Children in Need service at Islington Children’s Services talked about the ‘Breaking down barriers’ project, which is attempting to bring fathers to the fore in social work practice. Staff in the borough are now expected to make ‘exhaustive’ efforts to locate fathers, whether or not they have parental responsibility.

Charlotte Weinberg, chief executive of Safe Ground, an arts-based organisation which helps prisoners to gain confidence and support their children’s education, told the conference that 82% of prisoners are at or below the level expected of 11 year olds in writing, with 65% at a similar level for numeracy and 48% for reading – and that 65% of prisoners’ sons themselves end up in prison. ”Whole families serve sentences and what dads on our courses learn is new ways of being a dad,” she said.

Chris Cavanagh and two dads from the Liverpool Young Fathers Project talked about their version of Hit the Ground Crawling, which covers everything from sudden infant death syndrome and meningitis to shaken baby syndrome, foetal alcohol syndrome and post-natal depression – as well as parentcraft and birth control. They also talked about their Play2Learn football-meets-sexual-health-and-drug/alcohol-awareness project; and about City Site, a cultural and photographic project for young dads and their children.

Mark Osborn, Norfolk teenage pregnancy strategy coordinator, talked about the creation of a county-wide strategy for engaging with young fathers across Norfolk, including a teenage pregnancy pathway that puts children’s centres at the heart of delivery for young mums and dads.

Andy Giles from Campaign for Learning, Karen Hughes, deputy headteacher at Stag Lane Primary School in Harrow, and three dads from the school, talked about their Dads in Demand animation project and Fathers’ Story Week – and the hugely positive impact they have had on the dads’ relationship with their wives and children and the school; and on the children’s academic performance. Find out more about Dads in Demand and visit the Fathers’ Story Week site.

Abbey Rice, parenting coordination manager from Portsmouth City Council, talked about how the council is using the Dads Included Test to help bring about change across a range of agencies including child and adolescent mental health services, family information services, children’s centres, parenting and education.

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