Case study: Celebrating Fatherhood – a multi-agency initiative across a district council
Andrew Sandles from the Early Years Team at Bath & North Somerset Council writes: The Celebrating Fatherhood campaign is being run by the Early Years Team of Bath & North East Somerset Council. Sponsored by The Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, the campaign aims to promote and recognise the importance of the role of fathers in children’s lives. Working with a number of partner agencies the campaign runs from April 2012 for a year and will focus on a number of key areas:
• Engaging dads through the current dads’ groups and activities happening across the area;
• Providing opportunities for fathers to spend time with children in their daily settings. These include Fathers’ Friday*, Rock & Rhyme Party, Monstersaurus reading time.
• Keeping staff, agencies and interested parties up-to-date with events, news and research as it comes out during the year through a monthly e-Bulletin;
• Bespoke parenting programme for fathers with children on a Child Protection Plan.
• Bespoke training to re-examine and challenge the attitudes and shifting behaviours of a mostly female workforce by considering the role fathers play in children’s lives. Also training on how to engage fathers more effectively through play;
• Participation in a research programme led by Bath University on the role of fathers in children’s early learning.
The aim of this campaign is to raise the profile across the multi-agency workforce, of the importance of fathers, and male role models. We want to work together to encourage dads to play with their children and get more involved in their lives, especially those who might find themselves excluded.
We are still early on in our campaign but we have already had many success stories! Our greatest achievement so far has been our Fathers’ Friday event where dads visited their children at their School, Nursery or Children’s Centre and actively took part in their learning and play. Across the authority, 28 schools and settings took part with over 1,400 dads in attendance – a resounding success!
With any campaign we have to ask ourselves, are we making an impact? Is what we are doing making a difference? To answer these questions we have set ourselves a number of indicators to measure at the end of the year and compare them with baseline data from before we started. These indicators are:
• % increase in fathers involved in parenting programmes;
• % reported increase in fathers enjoying their children’s learning;
• % increase in fathers attending Child Protection conferences;
• Measuring the attendance of fathers attending Children in Care Reviews;
• % increase in fathers using services in Children’s Centres;
• % increase in fathers using Parent Support Advisers through targeted schools;
• % increase in fathers using the RUH overnight birthing facilities;
• Increase in input from fathers as a result of the new antenatal pilot led by Health Visitors;
• % increase in fathers attending Special Educational Needs statementing meetings;
• % increase in workers attending training programmes with a focus on fathers, who report a better understanding of how to engage with fathers/male carers;
• Media coverage with fathers as the focus;
• Measure dual heritage father’s involvement in services.
More events are planned for the rest of the year and these include a Photographic exhibition on single dads (in collaboration with Dads House); Healthy Eating for Dads including a Smoothie bicycle; Summer Tea Party with local Councillors and a Spring Play day.
Tags: Fatherhood research, Safeguarding, Schools