"Many services are, by default, geared up to meeting the needs of 'children and families' which tends to exclude men and dads..."
A key challenge for many service providers is understanding and actioning the appropriate ways to reach out, engage and communicate to men.
Many services are, by default, geared up to meeting the needs of 'children and families' which tends to exclude men and dads.
This forum set out to uncover some of the ways that service providers can engage with men and some of the strategies available to services which can be adopted at low cost to improve how they work with dads.
Key Insights For Father-Inclusive Practice By Health Services
- Engaged fathers impact directly on children's health. An integral part of striving to improve child and family health is working to better involve fathers.
- Services need to take an active approach towards engaging with dads. This can mean pushing past existing barriers and actively working to bring dads into conversations and discussions around their child's health needs. It means working with both mothers and fathers together.
- Services need to be bold and creative in addressing barriers that prevent fathers being actively involved. This includes targeting fathers at workplaces, extending opening hours to allow for after-work sessions, and include fathers and their stories in newsletters and mailings. Make fathers as much a part of the health environment as you would for mothers.
- Consider encouraging fathers to bring along a another male friend if that helps to increase confidence. This can pay dividends in encouraging other fathers to be involved as well as strengthening a father's own network.
- Dr Richard Fletcher's Presentation: What Works With Fathers And Their Families -4.33 MB
Dr Richard Fletcher presented evidence and insights from the University of Newcastle Fathers and Families Action Centre on the role of fathers in child and family health and reasons why a focus on fathers is important.
- Men's Health Coordinator David Hughes discusses men and breastfeeding (MP3 Audio 1.18 minutes)
David Hughes is a Men's Health Coordinator based at Bangalow in Northern NSW. David describes his approach and advice for dads in the early days of parenting. This is a humorous, frank account in David's inimitable style.
- Report From The Fatherhood Forum September 2011 -770 KB
This is the report that was produced from the conference and it outlines the suggestions that the various presenters recommended for health services and practitioners.
Men's Health Information & Resource Centre
Prof John MacdonaldWestern Sydney University
Locked Bag 1797 Penrith, NSW 2751