FI project aims to improve safeguarding in four EU countries through better engagement with fathers
Serious Case Review summaries across the world (plus a substantial body of research) reveal that family professionals working with children at risk of harm commonly fail to engage well with men in families where there are safeguarding concerns. This failure means that risk from dangerous men is regularly missed, being neither assessed nor challenged. Conversely, fathers and father-figures (and paternal relatives) who might be a resource to children are overlooked.
The Fatherhood Institute together with the Family Rights Group has been working closely with child protection teams for two years in six locations in the UK. Out of this work has come a clear understanding of the barriers to better engagement with fathers/father-figures in child protection in England, as well as steps that can be taken to improve and maintain engagement. Where better engagement is taking place, local authorities are also experiencing cost-savings, through more children being placed with fathers and paternal relatives, instead of being taken into local authority care.
The FI has now been funded by the EU (‘Daphne’ funding stream) to extend and develop this work in the UK, the Czech Republic, Romania and Finland, from February 2013 for two years. The overall goal is to reduce levels of risk and raise levels of care for children in families where there are safeguarding concerns, through more and better engagement with fathers. Activities and outputs include a Literature Summary (per country); an audit of practice (per local authority/region – two per country); the development of locally ‘tailored’ audit tools; a Project Report; a Good Practice Guide; practitioner self-review tools and a range of training activities (workshops, training courses, action-learning sets) as well as seminars and high profile networking and dissemination events.
The total cost of the project as approved by the EU is €500,000. The EU are funding 80%, with the Fatherhood Institute and its partners needing to fund the remaining 20%. There are opportunities for other organisations to play a part in this project through a small amount of financial sponsorship which could enable them to develop capacity to take this work forward in other arenas, and/or be associated with dissemination events and key outputs, such as the Good Practice Guide. To find out more, email Mark Osborn at m.osborn(at)fatherhoodinstitute.org or call him on 07920 428 139.
Tags: Child protection, Safeguarding, Vulnerable families