Elements of the Dads Included Test
The Dads Included Test is a key element of the Dads Included campaign. Dads Included Champions of all shapes, sizes and levels of father-friendliness will find that to really engage successfully with fathers, it’s important to take a systematic approach to understanding their needs, and assessing how well your service meets them. There are many simple things that can be done immediately to reach out to fathers, such as making small changes to your environment and holding a staff focus group to share experiences of engaging with fathers.
The Dads Included Test is a great stepping stone towards ‘thinking fathers’ in a strategic way. It is designed to help you assess how your service currently interacts with fathers and supports father-child relationships, and to help you identify what changes you can make to ensure you provide the best possible services to children and families.
The six elements of the Dads Included Test
Strong leadership and a clear strategy are essential in ensuring that everyone in your organisation is committed to engaging with fathers and strengthening father-child relationships. Senior managers must feel confident in their knowledge about why positive father-child relationships are so important to children, and how to support them.
How well you and your colleagues interact with fathers is a crucial factor in how they engage with your services. Take a step back and think about whether dads would feel comfortable dealing with your team. Remember, mothers and fathers have distinct needs and can require different approaches. Many practitioners feel they can relate easily to most mothers, but don’t always consider how well they engage with fathers, and whether or not their actions may unwittingly exclude men.
First impressions count, and your service’s physical environment can be a major factor in how comfortable a father will feel getting involved. Think about your décor, displays and promotional material and whether they create the kind of environment that would make fathers feel welcome.
Marketing and communication
Communicating proactively with fathers will help show them that mainstream services are for them, as well as for mums. They will be made to feel they are important to your service and will want to become involved. Remember, this is not just about marketing campaigns; all communications, including letters, can unintentionally exclude fathers if not planned carefully.
Making your services readily available and accessible to local fathers can be easier than you think. To help as many families as possible, it is best to recruit fathers proactively and routinely rather than as an exception, such as when dads get into difficulty.
Monitoring and evaluation
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of your work with fathers is vital to assess what works and what doesn’t.
Get started now – find out how to register online to take the new interactive Dads Included Test.
As an Dads Included Champion you will receive email newsletters and have access to web resources, at www.fatherhoodinstitute.org, that should help you work your way through the Dads Included Test. You will also have access, free of charge, to support from the Fatherhood Institute’s team of Regional Development Officers.
The Fatherhood Institute also has a range of training courses and consultancy that can set you on the right track.
Taking the Dads Included Test is part of becoming a Dads Included Champion – find out more now! You can also get extra support for the Dads Included Test when you subscribe to our Champions Plus package.