Nov 21, 2008

How do we support fathers better?

Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes has announced a ‘Think Fathers’ campaign to dispel the myth that dads are the ‘invisible parent’. Research the Government published this week shows that public, health and family services across the board need to go much further in recognising and working with fathers. Kick-starting a debate at the Family and Parenting Institute, Beverley Hughes wants to build up the expectation of fathers’ involvement within public services – from birth, through children’s centres in the early years and in schools – and within society more generally.

With research showing that children who grow up with strong father figures are less likely to get into crime, take drugs; grow up with mental health problems or struggle to form relationships, the Children’s Minister announced that the Government will be working with the Fatherhood Institute to look at how to better support dads and encourage them to play an active role in their families.

To push forward the debate on active fatherhood, the campaign will:

– For the first time to bring together employers, children’s services, practitioners and voluntary organisations to look at what more can be done to give dads the support they need

– Publish a ‘Think Fathers’ guide to help children’s services to improve the way they work with dads

– Hold a ‘Think Fathers’ summit to encourage public services, professionals and the voluntary sector to look distinctively at Fathers

not just generically at parents- Launch an online ‘Dads Dialogue’, with fathers, mothers and children creating a user-generated collection of views, feelings, anecdotes and memories about fatherhood, family policy, challenges and successes.

Within our nurseries we are always looking at new ways to work with parents and to provide the best communications that we can. Is there anything that you think we could do to engage better with both parents?  I am always encouraged by how many Dads regularly drop off or collect their children from nursery and in many locations we see as many Dads as Mums. However, we understand that working patterns can make it difficult for some parents to be involved, so we could run evening or weekend events if there was a demand for this.

Do let us know what you think.

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