The Think Fathers campaign aims to transform children’s, family and health services, including maternity services, pre-schools/nurseries and schools, into services which systematically engage with and support both fathers and mothers.
In support of the campaign, the Fatherhood Institute promotes public understanding and debate about fatherhood and how we can all support fathers’ positive involvement in their children’s lives; and is working to develop more father-inclusive approaches in the workplace – for example, flexible working, and leave arrangements for men and women which take account of fathers’ roles in bringing up children.
The new Think Fathers community site at www.think-fathers.org was funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and built by Attic Media for the Fatherhood Institute. It’s designed to let professionals share their expertise in father-inclusive practice. Registered user can create a private space for their organisation or network; share resources, discuss best practice, and take the Dad Test.
The history of Think Fathers
The Think Fathers campaign was launched in November 2008 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in association with a range of partners, including the Fatherhood Institute. The campaign was born as a result of research showing that the support of fathers by public services was uneven. Its aim is to encourage public, health and family services to be more ‘dad-friendly’ and inclusive of fathers.
Since the campaign’s launch, a number of significant initiatives have helped to raise awareness of the need for father-inclusive services and more father-friendly workplaces. Some of the highlights included: the Think Fathers Shed Tour; the ‘Soap Dads’ story about the negative portrayal of dads in soaps; ‘Dads at Work Day’ showcasing ways in which employers are creating family friendly work places, and a celebration of fatherhood in the Father’s Day Honours feature in The Sun newspaper. Read about all these and more in the DCSF’s June 2009 Campaign report.
During 2009 and 2010, the Fatherhood Institute has developed the Think Fathers Champions programme and the [link]Dad Test[/link] [LINK The Dad Test?] – a self-assessment tool to enable children’s, family and health services to measure their progress towards father-inclusiveness, available free to agencies that sign up as Champions at Think Fathers.
Think Fathers Champions
Make changes that matter! By actively reaching out to dads and promoting strong, positive father-child relationships, you can have a huge impact on children’s welfare and development. If you’ve got a professional interest in fatherhood, start a group for your agency or organisation and sign up as a Champion now. Help us work towards the shifts in attitude, strategy and day-to-day practice that gradually add up to a father-inclusive future for children’s, family and health services – and better outcomes for children.
Sign up your organisation, project or service as a Think Fathers Champion and you make a commitment to:
- work towards delivering services which systematically engage with fathers and support father-child and parental relationships
- do the Dad Test – assessing how father-inclusive your services are, working out your own action plan for how to improve them, and feeding back your results to us (now a fantastic online tool at the Think Fathers site
As a Think Fathers Champion, your organisation, project or service can also get some free support from our Development team, who can help you decide what’s the best route forward for you. You can also Subscribe to Champions Plus and get personal feedback on your Dad Test from our Development team.
As well as support from the Fatherhood Institute, we hope you’ll also with other Champion groups at our new online community, Think Fathers – the website for all those who want to share your expertise in father-inclusive practice. Nobody has all the answers, but many Champions will be doing excellent work to support father-child relationships. Remember, the Champion badge is NOT a mark of quality: it’s about ‘championing’ fathers and fatherhood.
Explore the Think Fathers site [LINK to www.think-fathers.org]
Find out how to become a Champion
How to become a Champion
Signing up as a Champion is a simple online process, all done at our new online community Think Fathers – where you can share expertise in father-inclusive practice.
Your first step, if you haven’t done it already, should be to register at Think Fathers. All you need is a user name – which should be your real name – an email address, and a password. Once you’ve registered, it’s worth completing your profile as that will let other users see where you are and what field you work in. Make sure you sign up for emails and we’ll send you Dad Test-related eshots for you to share with your group, as well as regular email newsletters about the Think Fathers campaign.
The next step is to create a group for your organisation, project or service. You will be the group owner – you’ll be the main contact with the Fatherhood Institute, so any emails will come to you. You’ll be able to invite other Think Fathers members to join the group, as well as other colleagues who aren’t yet members; you’ll be in charge of the Dad Test for your organisation. (If your circumstances change, you can nominate someone else to be the group owner.)
On your new group page, you’ll have the option of starting the Dad Test. When you do that, you’ll be asked to sign up as a Champion. You can start the Dad Test there and then – as group owner, you’ll see a page of initial actions you should take to get started.
You’ll see the Champion badge next to your group name – look out for other Champion groups you can share your experiences and challenges with.
Read the Champion FAQ at the Think Fathers site
Subscribe to Champions Plus and get personal feedback on your Dad Test from our Development team. Find out more about Champions Plus.