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The Family Action Centre: Father-Inclusive Practice Guide

The aim of father-inclusive practice is to engage fathers in a way that makes them feel welcome and valued, and encouraging them to participate in programs, as well as considering them in all aspects of service delivery. The current barriers to father-inclusive practice need to be addressed and services must strive to meet the needs of fathers.

 

Overview

Perhaps the most important benefit of father-inclusive practice is the enormous rewards this has for children. Positive and consistent father-child interaction brings the support and protection needed to increase social, emotional and cognitive development.

Children often have an increased sense of wellbeing, a clearer sense of their identity and greater resilience to adversity. Father-inclusive practice strengthens and supports families and is vitally important for the community as a whole.

Evidence shows that when fathers take a positive, active role in the lives of their children, there are:

  • less behavioural problems
  • improved social skills; and
  • better educational outcomes as a result.

It is becoming more apparent that the role of fathers in families is changing. Fathers, whether they are the primary caregiver, separated from the family, step-fathers or grandfathers they are increasingly playing a greater role and becoming more active in their children's lives.

The key elements of father-inclusive practice

Many fathers are still reluctant to approach or utilise services because of the many and varied barriers to accessibility they face. Organisations need to be:

  • proactive in their efforts to engage fathers
  • reassess the way they plan, develop and deliver their programs; and
  • address accessibility issues to align themselves with the increased need to provide services that meet, and are responsive to the needs of fathers.

In essence, father- inclusive practice aims to:

  • value and support men in their role as fathers
  • actively encourage their participation in programs; and
  • ensure they are appropriately and equally considered in all aspects of service delivery.

This can include, but is not limited to:

  • the introduction of father specific programs and resources
  • the way groups are facilitated
  • attitudes and skills of staff members
  • recruitment
  • language used in promotional materials
  • flexible opening hours; and
  • the physical environment

Resources Available

  • Father-Inclusive Practice Guide

    In order to achieve father-inclusive practice the needs of fathers must be responded to through the planning, development and delivery of services. This guide can be used as a tool to improve father-inclusive practice. (PDF, 3MB).

     
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