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Resources

Here you can view and download key resources we have produced over the years. We have organised these into our five policy workstreams, and listed them in date order, with the most recent first. Jump to different areas on this page using the buttons below:

What you see here is not a definitive listing of all the resources we have ever produced, but it hopefully gives you a flavour of the breadth and depth of our work. We will update this page periodically as we develop and publish new resources, but to stay up-to-date, please sign up for our newsletter and/or follow us on our social media pages.

If you are looking for a particular resource and cannot find it here, please let us know and we will do our best to send it on. Contact j.davies@fatherhoodinstitute.org 

Providing direct support to fathers is not our main focus - we have listed some resources you may find helpful below:

Please note that while we update the list as often as possible., it’s not exhaustive, and we cannot take responsibility for the quality of the information and advice provided

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Perinatal

2023
Engaging Dads toolkit with the Royal College of Midwives

Maternity services are naturally mother-focused but fathers also need information and support whilst going through the life-changing process of becoming a parent, and there's good evidence about the crucial impacts they have on mothers and infants. We've partnered with the Royal College of Midwives to drive forward this policy work, resulting in the creation of the Engaging Dads toolkit which helps midwives improve their father engagement during the perinatal period.  

2022
Bringing Baby Home: UK fathers in the first year after the birth

Part of our Nuffield Foundation-funded series, Contemporary Fathers in the UK, Bringing Baby Home is our review of empirical evidence about UK fathers and fatherhood in the first postnatal year. The report explores who dads are; what they do as caregivers, and what influences this; what impact they have (on children and mothers); and how services engage with them.

For the report, executive summary, recommendations, and factsheets summarising key messages from the report (aimed at families), see our Contemporary Fathers in the UK page.

2021
Dads Shut Out: fathers and maternity services during the pandemic

In the context of the widespread imposition of restrictions on fathers’ access to maternity services during the Covid-19 pandemic, we set up an online survey with questions aimed at mothers, fathers / partners, and maternity professionals. Discover the results and our recommendations.

Becoming Dad guide with the Mental Health Foundation

There is a real lack of well-written, evidence-based information designed specifically to help men navigate their personal journeys into fatherhood. This matters not just for the men themselves, but for the women who love them, and the babies they will father. We've partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to create a guide to fill this gap.

The Perinatal Dad: engaging fathers in the perinatal period to support breastfeeding

Written by our Head of Training, this report is designed to help commissioners, managers, staff, researchers, and policy makers who are invested in increasing the continuation of breastfeeding rates to strengthen the effectiveness of the support and information given to both mothers and fathers at this golden yet vulnerable time. It includes:

  • Report: exploring and examining evidence, including recommendations and key questions for the UK

  • Checklist: to help services assess their existing offer, and create a mother-focused, family inclusive, approach to breast feeding support

  • Tips for fathers: a short, downloadable handout to use in breastfeeding support as a conversation starter with fathers

  • Survey results: from the 2019 online survey of 95 UK fathers

2020
Dads using a maternity ward 'like a hotel': our response

Read our response to a Times article in which midwives claimed that fathers were treating an Edinburgh maternity ward like a hotel. How can it be that 15 years after NHS policy called for maternity services to deliver ‘mother-focused and family centred’ care, men are still being talked about as if they have no place?

2018
Who's the Bloke in the Room? Fathers during pregnancy and at the birth in the UK

Part of our Nuffield Foundation-funded series, Contemporary Fathers in the UK, Who's the Bloke in the Room focuses particularly on the antenatal period, although we include short sections on the birth and the neonatal period. The report details how expectant fathers in Britain are key influences on maternal and infant health and well-being, including on pregnant women’s smoking, diet, physical activity and mental health, and on children’s later adjustment. 

For the report, executive summary, press release, and survey results, see our Contemporary Fathers in the UK page.

2015
Fathers in the First 1001 Days

Relaunched in the UK Parliament in 2015 by a cross-party group of MPs, the First 1001 Days Movement is a group of organisations and professionals working together to campaign about the importance of the emotional wellbeing of babies. We produced a 1-page briefing for MPs and other interested parties, summarising what the evidence says about fathers’ importance in the period from conception to age 2 – and call on health professionals, the Government and others to specifically engage fathers and not just through mothers.

Work

2023
Our campaign for 6 weeks' well-paid leave for dads / second parents

UK fathers currently have the least generous statutory paternity package in Europe – just two weeks’ leave, paid at less than half the minimum wage. We believe that more and better-paid leave for fathers would be good for fathers, for mothers, for children, and for the economy. For this campaign, we have:

  • Sent an open letter to Business Secretary and Women & Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch

  • Launched a petition on the UK Government & Parliament website 

  • Featured in a Daddy Leave webinar alongside Pregnant Then Screwed and Maternity Action

Father's Day blogs on paternity and parental leave

Read our series of blogs outlining our ideas for how the UK’s parenting leave system could be reformed. Rather than lengthening paternity leave, we argue for fathers to have the right to their own, protected, parental leave: a period of time to look after their child that isn’t tied to the date of the birth, other than in the sense that it must be taken within the baby’s first year; and that is lost to the family if the father doesn’t take it. We suggest, as our starting point, a ‘daddy month’, paid at 90% of salary.

​​1. The UK's £1k-per-father paternity leave gap

2. Workhorse fathers: why it's time we gave UK dads a break

3. How six weeks' leave for dads could bring billions to the UK economy

Flex For All joint statement: Flexible Working Act

After the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill was given Royal Assent and became law, unions, rights groups, and women’s organisations came together to call on the government to go further and deliver on its manifesto commitments to unlock flexible working. We are one of the signatories of the statement.

Transition to Parenthood study

Becoming a parent is one of the most impactful processes in a person's working life course. Expecting and new parents are entitled to a range of workplace supports to help them during this time of transition, yet most research examining available support focuses on large firms. We're co-investigators on the Transition to Parenthood study, led by Middlesex University, which addresses this knowledge gap by examining how small and medium-sized enterprises (<249 staff) manage their businesses and staffing when their employees (both mothers and fathers) become parents.

Revealing Fatherhood podcast with Babbu

We partnered with Babbu, an Early Years educational platform for parents, to launch a podcast series offering honest and raw accounts of fatherhood from over 30 men around the world, each speaking openly about their journey and experiences. The first episode is a conversation with Jeremy, our Head of Impact & Communications.

Stay at Home Fathers in the UK

The number of full-time stay-at-home dads in the UK has leapt by a third since before the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, compiled by The Guardian. We have created a briefing exploring and contextualising the latest data – and including comments from stay-at-home fathers who shared their experiences in response to the media coverage. 

2022
Closing the Gap: UK working fathers' and mothers' use of time 2014-22

Our analysis of Office for National Statistics figures shows big increases in time spent by working fathers on childcare, housework, and home-working since before the Covid-19 pandemic. These new figures add weight to our ongoing call for the Government to develop employment and family policies aimed at extending fathers’ and mothers’ ability to share their earning and caregiving responsibilities more equitably.

Flexible Working Consultation: our letter to Govt

Following the Government's publication of its response to its consultation on making flexible work the default, we joined 15 other organisations in voicing our concerns that the measures don't go far enough.

Paternity leave league table with Koru Kids

Childcare service Koru Kids created a 'paternity league' table to shine a spotlight on the most and least generous paternity leave packages that the UK companies on Glassdoor’s ‘Top 50 Best Places To Work 2022’ offer. We've partnered with them to help interpret the findings and promote a wider discussion of the issues raised.

Daddy Leave: why Britain needs a father-inclusive parenting leave system

The UK’s parenting leave system is one of the most gender-unequal in the developed world. We think the UK needs a parenting leave system that reflects the needs and aspirations of modern British parents. In this working paper we set out ten principles which are known from international research to enhance family well-being and promote gender equality – and drawing on these, we propose a model for what a better system might look like.

Daddy Leave Diaries: podcast series

We created a podcast series accompanying Dr Mark Gatto, a lecturer at Northumbria University, on his six-month parental leave journey. He shared his story with us resulting in a 10-part podcast series – beginning from applying for time off work, through attending his baby’s birth and supporting his wife through her maternity leave, up to spending time as a stay-at-home dad.

2021
Lockdown Fathers: the untold story

Part of our Nuffield Foundation-funded series, Contemporary Fathers in the UK, Lockdown Fathers explores the lockdown experiences of fathers in two parent households; separated fathers; Asian and Black fathers; gay fathers; and fathers in different socio-economic groups. The report was created in collaboration with the polling organisation Thinks Insight & Strategy.

For the report, executive summary, and video, see our Contemporary Fathers in the UK page.

Ed Miliband's Reasons to be Cheerful: a big idea for gender equality

Our Head of Impact & Communications, Jeremy, is a guest contributor to this episode of Ed Miliband's Reasons to be Cheerful podcast series. The episode asks whether better parental leave for dads could help promote gender equality, assesses where the UK is going wrong, and what to do about it.

2018
Flex for All petition

The Flex for All alliance, of which we are members, are calling for a change in the law to ensure employers publish flexible working options in job adverts, or justify why the job can’t be done flexibly – and that if you took the job you would have the right to work flexibly, as advertised, from Day 1. And all workers would have the right to request flexible working at any stage in their employment.

2017
Cash or Carry: fathers combining work and care in the UK

The first in our Nuffield Foundation-funded series, Contemporary Fathers in the UK, Cash or Carry looks at paid work and unpaid care-giving. In post-industrial economies, reconciling provisioning and daily care of one’s family is an important task for both men and women. The bulk of our report examines how contemporary British fathers manage such reconciliation, and the contexts (cultural, legislative, institutional, social and familial) framing their behaviour.

For the report, press release, and recommendations, see our Contemporary Fathers in the UK page.

2016
Fairness in Families Index

Our index uses a basket of measures to compare developed countries’ progress towards gender equality. Overall, in 2016, the UK came 12th out of 22 countries; a drop of three places since we last undertook the index in 2010. It's clear that there’s still a long way to go if the UK is serious about levelling the playing field for men and women in the workplace and at home. Check out our infographic, highlighting the key findings of the report; or download the report (in brief or full).

Education

2023
Fathers Reading Every Day programme

FRED is a simple, effective and sustainable intervention that gets dads reading to their children. We have piloted it in UK primary schools and early years settings and have shown that it can dramatically improve children’s outcomes. Read more about the programme, and our upcoming project in Lambeth. For booking enquiries, visit our services page.

Paternal Involvement & its Effects on Children's Education study

We were co-investigators of the ESRC-funded PIECE study assessing the link between father involvement and children’s educational attainment. Using household data from the Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) linked with official educational records of children from the National Pupil Database in England, the study explores whether, how, and at what stage fathers’ childcare involvement affects children’s attainment at primary school. Access the full report and resources (including a briefing for practitioners and a guide for families), watch the webinar recording of our launch event, and read coverage of the study in the Guardian.

PIECE
Early Education & Childcare Coalition

We are members of the EECC, which was developed in response to the growing pressures facing the sector and families. Continued underfunding, rising costs, and workforce pressures created a growing need for collaboration among all those impacted by the crisis in early education and childcare.

Men in the Early Years: 1.2% as useful as female soldiers?

As part of our MITEY campaign, we wrote an article for the Early Years Educator Journal discussing the contrast between Ministry of Defence funding on marketing careers in the military to women and Department for Education funding on encouraging men into early years education.

2022
Men in the Early Years: still at 3%

As part of our MITEY campaign, we wrote a blog reflecting on the lack of progress across the last 25 years towards a more gender-diverse early years sector. We provide an overview of our work in this area since our involvement in the Department for Education's 'task and finish' group in 2017.

Men in the Early Years collaborative project with Kids Planet Day Nurseries

We partnered with Kids Planet Day Nurseries to reduce gendered barriers to early years apprenticeships - you can read a summary below. This project was funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 

Men in the Early Years collaborative project with PACEY

As part of the Department for Education funded Together for Two Project in England, we partnered with the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years to challenge perceptions about childcare roles, deliver careers-in-childcare sessions, and talk directly to Job Centres about the opportunities that are available to men. Find out more about the project, access resources and listen to the 3-part podcast mini-series we made via the PACEY website (resources button below).

2021
Men in the Early Years: letter to Nick Fletcher MP

As part of our MITEY campaign, we wrote a letter to Nick Fletcher MP following his problematic remarks connecting the importance of positive male role models with 'absent fathers'. 

2019-20
Men in the Early Years: resources and conference

In 2019, supported by funding from the Department for Education, we launched the MITEY website in response to the lack of gender diversity in the workforce. We have since published a series of resources on the website, aimed at employers, men who might be interested in a career in early years, and careers advisers to help them promote the sector to men. Also in 2019, we held a national MITEY conference in London.

Safeguarding

2023
Improving Safeguarding through Audited Father Engagement

Together with CASCADE, and funded by Foundations, we developed and delivered the ISAFE randomised controlled trial to seven local authorities across England. ISAFE is a learning package designed to improve engagement with fathers and father-figures by local authority children's services. It aims to help social workers - supported by the organisations they work for – routinely and systematically engage, assess, support and challenge men in families.

2021-23
Myth of Invisible Men

The UK’s Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s The Myth of Invisible Men report (2021) shines a light on the rare but tragic phenomenon of fathers and father-figures who kill or injure babies (not by accident). One of the three key sources underpinning the report is an evidence review conducted by the Fatherhood Institute.

2013
Engaging with Men in Social Care

We ran a two-year project under the European Union's Daphne funding stream to develop our work with child protection teams in the UK, extending our focus to the Czech Republic, Romania and Finland. Our goal was 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. We produced a practice guide, with supporting documents. You can also read a summary of our work in two Welsh local authorities, in a Children and Young People Now case study [article].

Recognising and supporting diverse fathers

2023
Ensuring fathers are included in research

Part of the challenge of building more father-inclusive policies and systems is the relative invisibility of fathers in research. This can result from deficiencies in research design and practice, as well as from fathers' lower participation rates. We have been working with research teams in the development of three new cohort studies to enhance recruitment of fathers, and the breadth and quality of fatherhood data collected for child development and family research.

Supporting diverse fathers: partnership with the Royal College of Midwives

Fathers, like mothers, are a very diverse group, whose communication needs, styles, and preferences may vary according to a range of factors. As part of our Engaging Dads toolkit, in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives, we created a guide to provide some ideas and resources to help think inclusively in midwives' father-engagement. We also put together key evidence about Black fathers' experiences, and created a short video featuring Elliott Rae, founder of the Music Football Fatherhood website, in which he shares some ideas about including fathers in maternity services.

The fatherlessness myth in UK family services

As part of ISAFE, we created an infographic which presents key statistics that summarise what we know about fathers' presence in young children's lives. We also created a social media series in which we presented the data on father absence at different stages in children’s lives to debunk the myth of a fatherlessness crisis. As you'll see, fathers are much more 'around' than you might expect...

2022
Own household fathers

Around a third of children under 16 years live for all or most of the time with one birth parent - usually their mother. Research has shown that these children's wellbeing and development are influenced by birth fathers. But all too often these fathers are deemed 'non-resident' and effectively ignored. We are pioneering the use of the term 'own household fathers' to support more sensitive and effective research and practice. As an example, see Developing rich descriptions of fathers and father-figures, part of our ISAFE programme practice guide.

2021
Moving beyond the 'non-resident father' label

We often hear the phrase ‘families come in all shapes and sizes’ these days. But in research, policy and practice there’s still a tendency to define fathers in a simplistic and binary way: you’re either ‘resident’ or ‘non-resident’. 

In fact, as most children whose parents have separated or divorced (or live apart for other reasons) would tell you, life’s often not as simple as that. Check out our infographic for a quick summary of the problem, read the blog on the Social Research Association website, or the more in-depth summary of our ESRC-funded project with ScotCen about collecting data from 'own household fathers' in cohort studies [summary button, pages 13-22].

2022
Own household fathers

TEXT HERE

2019
Fatherhood in LGBT families

Throughout our work we emphasise the importance of using the word 'father' in services and practice resources. We are often challenged on this, on the basis that there are families where there 'isn't a dad' - by which the 'challenger' usually means lone (mother-headed) families and those where children have 'two mums'. We refer to 'mothers and fathers' rather than parents not to privilege a traditional, heterosexual family model, but to acknowledge that gay fathers also exist, and that such men's involvement in parenting, like women's, is significant. 

2018
Where's the Daddy? Fathers and father-figures in UK datasets

Complementing our topic-based analysis, we have been investigating how statistical information about British fathers (‘raw data’) is collected and analysed. This report presents the findings, in which we investigated sixteen large-scale repeated cross-sectional and longitudinal UK research datasets to discover how they collect information on British fathers; and how they identify and differentiate different types of fathers and father-figures.

For the report and executive summary, see our Contemporary Fathers in the UK page.

2015
Fathers and Fatherhood in Young Carers' Families

In partnership with the Children's Society, we wrote a report based on a review of evidence about fathers’ impact, and about young carer families and services’ engagement with them. The report found that that helping young people reflect on and improve their relationship with their father and/or father figures, or to reconnect with them if the relationship has broken down, can have a huge impact on their lives as carers and beyond. But services for young carers are patchy, and there is – in common with many family services – a lack of emphasis on supporting father-child relationships.

Bringing Fathers In

We launched a set of resources designed to provide practitioners, programme designers, evaluators and advocates with tools through which to meet the recommendations of our 2012 review, Fatherhood: Parenting Programmes and Policy, which were:

  1. Engage fathers in existing family support, child development and maternal/child health programmes

  2. Involve fathers early on

  3. Welcome fathers in universal services, not just targeted interventions

  4. Focus on holistic, multi-dimensional programmes, combining community-based and national-level advocacy campaigns

  5. Carry out pilot research to engage men in existing, large-scale programmes (eg those focused on maternal health and child survival) in the Global South

Both our report and the associated resources were developed with the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Resources include four topic sheets on why to engage dads, and a further five on how to do so effectively:

Why: improve maternal and infant health

Why: reduce violence in children's lives

Why: support children's early learning

Why paternity leave matters for young children

How: five best practice tips

How: five common mistakes

How: ten top tips for attracting fathers to programmes 

How: reflections for advocates of involved fatherhood

How: reflections for researchers and programme designers [father-inclusive evaluation]

Bringing fathers in
2012
Fatherhood: Parenting Programmes & Policy

In partnership with Promundo [now Equimundo], and funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, we reviewed policies and programmes that promote or facilitate the involvement of fathers and father-figures from the pre-natal period through the first eight years of their children’s lives. The report presents 20 case studies primarily from the Global North with some from the Global South, plus a catalogue of additional projects and discussion of key issues. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research, policy and programme design and evaluation.

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