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The Family Action Centre: SMS4dads

SMS4dads is a new project to keep in touch with dads before and after the birth through their mobile phones. Text messages will be sent to new dads with tips, information and links to other services. The tips in the texts will help a dad connect with his baby and they will also help him be a support for his partner, the mum. Some texts will remind dad to take care of himself.



Having a new baby can be one of the most joyous times of a man's life, and it is also a time of great change. Author and casual academic at University of Technology, Sydney, Dr Peter West says the role of the father is changing to be less distant and a more hands-on dad. Through his conversations with dads he found that many new dads felt less confident with newborns and needed more support from family and friends.

With this new initiative dads will be contacted regularly through text messaging to find out how they are coping with their new role as fathers, and if they are not coping there will be a mechanism in place to offer assistance such as counselling and other support as needed.

There's lots of evidence to show that there are many benefits of dads having an active, positive role in their children's lives, both for themselves, their children and families.


In this project fathers will be sent text messages to gauge how they are faring and they will also be asked to keep track of their mood during the study by responding to text messages asking “How are you going?” and offering options from"awesome" to "bad". If the fathers’ response indicates that he is not coping well then an escalation system will be activated that links him to counselling and support services.

The overarching aim of this project is to test the feasibility and acceptability of providing both information and support to fathers. Mothers will also be invited to participate if their partner is enrolled in the study to ask for their perceptions of how SMS4dads worked for their partners.

Resources Available

  • SMS4dads
  • Text messaging service that ask new dads how they are coping in their new role and link those who are not coping to counselling and support services.

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