Last week saw the first ‘Think Fathers Summit’, hosted by Children’s Minister, Ed Balls. He said:
“I want all fathers to feel supported by their employers, so that they can make time for their families and work flexibly around caring for their children. That is why we are working with BT and other businesses to produce a guide for employers on the benefits of supporting fathers in the workforce and how to set up family friendly practices.
“I know how important it is to take an active role in my children’s lives. Research has shown that children with highly involved fathers at age seven do better at school, have higher self-esteem and are less likely to get into trouble in adolescence. We need to get rid of the outdated assumption that dads are the invisible parent – they deserve to be better recognised for the great job they are doing everyday.”Now is precisely the time we must support families because economic instability can put a huge strain on relationships. That’s why last month I announced extra money to give families real help through the recession. We know the early years are a crucial time for child development which is why we are now looking at the support we provide to families from a child’s birth, and how well fathers are engaged at this time of change and vulnerability for families.
“Through the ‘Think Fathers’ campaign I want all public services to work better with dads and all employers to make sure dads are given the time they need to be good parents. It’s only right that dads want to spend more time with their children
– we must now ensure that we do all we can to support this.”A new ‘Dads Test’ Guide for Children’s Services is being published today, produced by the Fatherhood Institute and the Parenting Academy, with the DCSF, to help local services assess how well they recognise and include fathers in their work.
David Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute, said:
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to support fathers more effectively. Fathers are more involved in bringing up their children than ever before, and three quarters of dads say they’d like mums and dads to share parenting roles flexibly, rather than either parent acting as ‘main carer’. At the same time, many parents are juggling work and family responsibilities, and facing unemployment and poverty. So it is essential that our public services give fathers the information and support they need to fulfil their crucial role in their children’s lives.
“Many individual workers and services already engage well with dads
– in schools, children’s centres, and maternity services. But there are still real barriers to regular involvement. Our challenge now is to spread this good work systematically across the whole country, so all fathers, whatever their situation, are properly valued and supported. That is why, from next year, the Fatherhood Institute will publish an Annual Fatherhood Report to assess how well we as a society are encouraging dads’ vital role in children’s lives, and to spread the word about effective ways to support fathers.”
We are always looking for ways to help families and to enable both parents to be involved with their children’s every day routine and it is always great to see how many Dads do bring children to and collect them from nursery. Is there anything we could do to engage more fathers? Would you like to have the occasional Saturday morning drop-in session when parents who might be at work during the week can come in and see what goes on at nursery? As always, we would welcome any suggestions………