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Our history

Since launching in 1999, we have worked on many fronts – and have successfully navigated the shifting sands of social policy and funding opportunities – to advance the inclusion of fathers in research, policy and practice, in the UK and overseas.


Throughout our history we have sought to challenge the political, social, economic, and cultural narratives that keep men, no less than women, ‘in their place’ – arguing that everyone needs to behave differently if men are to play a greater role in caring for children.


There is much work still to be done.


Our milestones


More than 14,000 people signed our parliamentary petition calling for six weeks' well-paid leave for fathers in their baby's first year


The PIECE (Paternal Involvement & its Effects on Children's Education) study, on which we were co-investigators, showed - for the first time - that fathers' involvement in childcare has a unique and important impact on their children's educational outcomes, over and above the mother's involvement


Foundations (the What Works Centre for Children & Families) funded us to run a randomised controlled trial of ISAFE, an intervention we developed with CASCADE (Cardiff University Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre), in seven English local authority children's social care departments


The Department of Education commissioned us to provide evidence to inform the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel's Inquiry into non-accidental injury of infants by fathers and other male caregivers


We launched the MITEY (Men in the Early Years) campaign, with support from the Department of Education, to advocate for gender diversity in the early years education workforce


Adrienne Burgess served as special advisor to the House of Commons Women & Equalities Committee Inquiry on Fathers in the Workplace


The Nuffield Foundation funded us to undertake Contemporary Fathers in the UK - a series of six reviews summarising evidence about fathers' roles, characteristics, and impacts


The Bernard van Leer Foundation commissioned us to produce Bringing Fathers In - a series of practice guides and research summaries for a global audience of practitioners and service commissioners


UK evaluations of FRED and Family Foundations - interventions we imported from the US - reported positive outcomes


The European Union funded us to run a four-country project to improve child safeguarding through better father-engagement (in the UK, Czech Republic, Romania, and Finland)


We received special permission to relaunch as the Fatherhood Institute, in recognition of our new strategic focus as a centre of research and innovation in father-inclusive practice


We worked with the then-Labour Government to introduce statutory paternity leave for employed UK fathers


We launched as Fathers Direct, carving out a new space to acknowledge the importance of involved fatherhood, and advocate for better support for fathers in UK policy and services

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