Stop bashing young dads – and support them to help their children

14 November 2013

The Fatherhood Institute calls on government-funded services aimed at supporting parents to identify and support young fathers as well as young mothers, rather than dismiss them as ‘feckless’ and reduce their role to that of cash providers.

Responding to comments by Conservative MP for Monmouth, David Davies in a recent debate about housing benefit and the ‘bedroom tax’*, Fatherhood Institute joint chief executive Adrienne Burgess said:

‘The evidence is clear that if properly supported, most young dads have the potential to be positively involved in their children’s lives. Rather than branding these men as “feckless”, politicians should focus on creating services which work hard to support young dads’ vital involvement, while also helping their children’s mothers.

‘Having a positively involved father provides huge protection for children from disadvantage, but the lack of any clear requirement for services to engage with men as fathers and support father-child relationships leaves these young men as marginalised outsiders.

‘Recent figures suggest many dedicated dads’ groups are under threat from funding cuts** – but all children’s centres and similar services should, as part of their mainstream service, be routinely offering young fathers support around employment and training; budgeting; and preparation for fatherhood.’

*In the House of Commons debate on 12 November, Mr Davies said: “It is utterly shocking and I hope that the ministers will take note of this and get hold of some of these feckless fathers, drag them off, make them work, put them in chains if necessary, make them work and make them pay back to society for the cost of bringing up the children they chose to bring into this world.”

** 28% of children’s centres expect to cut their fathers’ group next year, according to the 4 Children Children’s Centres 2013 Census.

For more details about the reality of young fatherhood in the UK, read the Fatherhood Institute’s Research Summary on Young Fathers.

 

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One Comment »

  • David Wright says:

    My experience of working with young fathers bears out your statement that most of them just want to be a good dad to their children. They may not have the opportunity, capability or experience but given support and encouragement they are keen to be involved. And as we know, positive involvement of a father can be a significant positive factor in a child’s development. I am also aware of how funding and resource cuts are closing children’s centres fathers’ groups. We are currently running an independently funded dads’ project in our area to try and provide support and training in parenting skills, run by fathers for fathers. I agree, they need our support and encouragement, not derision.

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