Presentation on theme: "Engaging with fathers in our practice. How we engage with fathers and paternal family and whänau >Think about the children and young people you work with."— Presentation transcript:
How we engage with fathers and paternal family and whänau >Think about the children and young people you work with. Consider the following points >What do you know about their fathers? >What do you know about the wider paternal family? >What involvement have fathers had in your work with the family or whänau?
How the evidence helps us >Fathers are important to a child’s life >Better outcomes for children with well engaged fathers >Gaining access to paternal whänau and family
Fathers are important to a child’s life Father’s knowledge about child development is associated with positive engagement with their children. Pleck and Masciadrelli, 2004:248 (cited in Burgess and Bartlett, nd:12) Women are not natural experts – left in charge of babies men and women develop skills at the same rate (Fathers Direct et al, 2000, note 15) The best predictor of a mother’s ability to cope with the demands of a new baby is the quality of her relationship with her partner (Fathers Direct et al, 2000, note 222)
Better outcomes for children with well engaged fathers Even quantity of time seems to matters: children who spent a lot of time with their fathers before age 11 are less likely to have a criminal record by age 21 (Fathers Direct et al, 2000, note 13) Children with involved, loving fathers are much more likely to do well in school; have healthy self-esteem; exhibit empathy and pro-social behaviour; and avoid high-risk behaviours such as drug use, truancy, and delinquent activity than children who have uninvolved fathers (Horn and Sylvester, 2002:15 cited in Martinez et all 2011:1)
Gaining access to paternal whänau and family (fathers) are a resource in a child’s life that a social worker needs to know about. A father or father figure who is positive not only has value in his own tight but is a conduit to another network of support among family and friends that is often overlooked. (Community Care, 2010)
Examples from our practice Let’s look at the challenges when engaging with fathers
What helps our engagement with fathers >Think about all male figures in a child’s life >Normalise the inclusion of fathers >Record details of fathers >Flexible meeting times >Look for opportunities to engage with fathers Fathers can better work with us when we make an ongoing effort to keep them included.
Fathers as a resource or a risk >What do we currently do to understand if fathers are a resource and/or a risk? >Understanding when fathers are both a risk or a resource >If we identify them as a risk what happens next?
Understanding fathers’ parenting capacity >Fathers are not always as involved in the day to day parenting of their children as are mothers. >What’s our thinking about this? >Our expectations >Fathers opportunities to be involved >How do we understand a child’s father’s parenting capacity? >what are we looking for? >What information do we need? >What about father’s pro-social role-modelling? >Primary and secondary caregivers
Practice Example >Let’s look at a case example. >In your groups, develop a social work plan for how you would involve the fathers and both the paternal families >Include details of how you will >build engagement >maintain contact with him so he’s included >get to know and include his family in decisions and plans
What fathers tell us “I would have gone to antenatal classes if it wasn’t in a group setting. I went to the GP and Plunket. I‘m not interested in the group experience” “Being an effective father is about being supportive with your kids, being positive – not so much critical, but guiding. Then there’s the obvious things like food and shelter and all that…and ensuring they grow up with good self esteem” “Whakapapa’s a big thing for Mäori. It identifies you to your whole tribe… It’s good know where your roots are”
Conclusions and taking this forward >What does this mean in practice? >What will the child or young person notice when we engage with their fathers? >What is the outcome we are seeking from engaging with fathers? >What do we know about agencies who work with fathers? >What agencies can we draw on in our area?
Useful reading Dominelli, L., Strega, S., Walmsley, C., Callahan, M., and Brown, L. (2011) ‘Here’s my story’: fathers of ‘looked after’ children recount their experiences in the Canadian Child Welfare System. British Journal of Social Work (2011) 41, 351-367 Turnell, A and Essex, S (2006) Working with ‘denied’ child abuse: the resolutions approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press Scourfield, J (2006) The Challenge of engaging fathers in the child protection process. Critical Social Policy 2006 26:440