Making Father Inclusive Practice happen (Groupwork Solutions)

July 29, 2012

This webpage is designed as an induction tool for staff involved in community health/welfare/counselling contexts and how their program/organisation can best involve fathers. Organisations and programs are encouraged to complete the whole FIP process to ensure best service delivery outcomes. Click here, for more information.

Cowan and Cowan (2009) identified four common issues in child protection research:

  • Despite recent interest in including fathers, research and services for families still primarily focus on mothers and children.
  • Children benefit when non-violent, non-abusive fathers play an active and positive role in their daily lives.
  • Family services should make greater efforts to include fathers in their intervention programs.
  • Interventions to improve parenting skills should include a focus on improving the quality of the relationship between parents (Cowan, 2009).

A meta-analysis of studies on attachment interventions designed to enhance positive parenting behaviours found that those that included fathers were, on average, more effective than those that involved mothers only. Including fathers in such interventions will be more effective if the unique value of father-child relationships is well understood and taken into account.

Unless there are contra-indicators of family violence, involvement of the fathers that surround the children’s lives will mainly have significant impacts for the mothers, children and men. Cowan’s (2005) research, using random allocation and a control group,  indicates that involving fathers directly in family support, home visiting and couple programs resulted in the following:

  • Decreased post natal depression (Burgess, 2010)
  • Men were significantly more involved in the day to day care of their children (bathing, feeding, taking to the doctor, etc.) (Cowan C. , 2005)
  • Children experienced less behaviour problems and stress (Cowan C. , 2005)
  • Lower parenting stress (Cowan C. , 2005)
  • Lower personal adult distress (Cowan C. , 2005). 

Click here to go to the Making Father Inclusive Practice happen webpage.

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