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YOUNG FATHERS Who they are . . . Why they matter. . . – and what you need to do about them Adrienne Burgess Bright PowerPoint Presentation
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YOUNG FATHERS Who they are . . . Why they matter. . . – and what you need to do about them Adrienne Burgess Bright - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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YOUNG FATHERS Who they are . . . Why they matter. . . – and what you need to do about them Adrienne Burgess Brighton October 2010. “You’re not taught anything at school about it. I’ve only actually been a father for like two & a half

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slide1

YOUNG FATHERS

Who they are . . .

Why they matter. . .

– and what you need to do about them

Adrienne Burgess

Brighton

October 2010

slide2

“You’re not taught anything at school about it.

I’ve only actually been a father for like two & a half

years. I’m still a kid myself basically because I

have just turned 21 years of age. I still feel it’s hard

to be a father because there are lots of things to

be done; you have got to take them to the doctor’s,

things basically that are just so hard to learn,

it’s unbelievable. It’s equally as hard for me to

bring up my child as for my partner because we

live in separate homes . . . . but it’s absolutely,

it’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened

in my life and that is all I have got to say.”

slide3

WHO ARE ‘YOUNG’ FATHERS?

  • NOT just teenage dads: usual definition is
  • under the age of 25
  • Estimated 25% of the young dads are under 20
  • Estimated 25% are over 25
  • Needs vary by age (as with young mums)
slide4

YOUNG FATHERS & DISADVANTAGE

  • Similar factors predict early motherhood and
  • early fatherhood
  • Very young dads tend to be the most disadvantaged and to be particularly anxious/depressed
  • Young men who have children with more than
  • one mother also tend to be highly disadvantaged and particularly anxious and depressed
  • Overall, young fathers are more disadvantaged
  • than young men in the wider population
  • BUT men who become fathers young compare favourably with young non-fathers from the same background
slide5

YOUNG FATHERS – STRENGTHS

  • Young fathers are often high-status within their communities
  • They can attract, and keep, a girl: the top predictor of early fatherhood is an ongoing relationship with the same girl
  • 4 out of 5 births to TEENAGE mothers are joint-
  • registered with the father: i.e. 80% are still close at the time of the birth
  • Where young fathers express dis-interest, this is
  • mainly associated with financial insecurity or
  • confusion about how to take care of babies/children
slide6

YOUNG FATHERS – STRENGTHS (cont.)

  • • most very much want to be, and stay, connected to their children
  • those who get to stay connected are mostly delighted by parenthood
  • those who are not engaged with their children are mainly anguished by that fact
  • • very few show no joy about becoming fathers and do not plan to support their partner/child
  • • many claim early fatherhood has given their lives meaning and protected them from involvement in a range of negative activities
slide7

YOUNG FATHERS – STRENGTHS (cont.)

  • early fatherhood can help young men develop
  • positively: delinquent behaviour is higher in
  • young fathers than non-fathers, but by age 25 there is
  • no difference – more of the fathers than the non- fathers have left anti-social behaviour behind
  • despite their greater social disadvantage, early
  • fathers ultimately prove as able to support their
  • children as men who do not become fathers young
  • • young dadsengage more than young non-fathers in
  • socially productive activities/community volunteering
  • young fathers are NOT more likely than older fathers
  • to drop out of their children’s lives, once their education and employment levels are taken into account
slide8

BUT YOUNG FATHERS ARE VIEWED NEGATIVELY (and more negatively than young mothers)

• Quinton et al (2002) found young fathers ‘mostly ignored, marginalized or made uncomfortable’ by services, despite desire for information, advice and inclusion

• Bunting (2005) found health visitors perceiving young mothers’ parenting capacity as average to good, and the young fathers’ parenting capacity as poor – even though they knew very little about the young men (e.g. had not met them)

slide10

BECAUSE . . .

  • young fathers are human beings and becoming a father is one of the most important things that will ever
  • happen to them; and if they fail at it, this will cause
  • them life-long sorrow
  • we want to prevent too-early/subsequent pregnancies
  • young fathers influence their babies’ mothers profoundly
  • young fathers impact on their children (whether they
  • remain in contact or not)
  • policy and legislation require engagement with young dads as well as young mums
slide12

MOTHERS . . .

  • In deciding whether to abort or proceed to full term,
  • pregnant teenage girls are substantially influenced
  • by the known views of their baby’s father
  • A teenage mother’s perception of support from her
  • baby’s father is linked with a good birth experience
  • positive adjustment to motherhood and more positive
  • behaviour towards her infant
  • As involvement by the father decreases, a teenage
  • mother’s parenting stress increases
  • Teenage mothers who feel un supported by their baby’s father have higher scores on the Child Abuse Potential
  • scale
slide14

CHILDREN . . .

  • High father involvement is linked with: fewer behaviour problems in the child; lower criminality and substance abuse; higher self-esteem etc.
  • The father’spoor parenting /anti-social behaviour etc. is linked with: behaviour problems in children (particularly aggression), low school achievement etc.
  • Total or near father-absence is linked with
  • behaviour problems, early pregnancy, anger and depression continuing into adulthood etc.
slide15

YOUNG FATHERS ARE MORE, NOT LESS, IMPORTANT TO THEIR CHILDREN THAN OLDER FATHERS BECAUSE . . .

A ‘good-enough’ father-child relationship is a

PARTICULARLY significant protective factor

in the face of other disadvantage, most noticeably

in vulnerable families – e.g. when the mother is young.

This is true, whether or not the parents live together

slide16

POLICY AND LEGISLATION . . .lots including

  • The Equality Act (2006)
  • The Children’s Centre Guidance (DfES/DCSF, 2006 - 2009)
  • The Children’s Plan (DCSF, 2007)
  • Healthy lives, brighter futures (DCSF, DH, 2009)
  • Getting maternity services right for teenage mothers and young fathers (DH, DCSF, 2009)
  • The Welfare Reform Act (2009)
slide18

WORKING WITH THE DADS CAN PAY OFF

  • Well developed, well informed, well resourced work
  • with young fathers and with their families can result in:
  • Improved relationship with their child’s mother
  • Improved living arrangements
  • Personal development
  • mental & physical health
  • self-confidence & self-esteem
  • empathy/can put child’s needs before own
  • basic skills development
  • education/training/employment
  • More involvement in their children’s lives . . ..
slide19

YOUNG DADS ARE ALL DIFFERENT

  • Young fathers have been described as falling into
  • three main categories:
  • ‘chaotic’
  • ‘semi-chaotic’
  • ‘sorted’
  • All need help and support but via different strategies and with different immediate
  • objectives . . . “
slide20

YOUNG DADS ARE ALL DIFFERENT (cont.)

  • A ‘sorted’ young dad may need to be discouraged from leaving education to get an immediate job
  • A ‘chaotic’ young dad may need substance misuse treatment, mental health intervention, housing etc.
  • Most young fathers will ask for support for
  • money/benefits, housing, jobs/training, seeing their
  • children
  • HOWEVER they may often be suffering from
  • depression/anxiety and will accept help for this
  • and other issues in due course
  • THE KEY IS ASSESSMENT
slide21

INVISIBLE FATHERS: SEEK & YE SHALL FIND . . .

  • Young fathers often avoid help-seeking/stay invisible because they:
  • • fear being blamed for ‘getting her pregnant’
  • • are too busy (trying to support mother and baby)
  • • are overwhelmed by the challenges of being very young AND a parent
  • • do not know about services, or think these are not for dads
  • • are socialised to avoid counselling and similar services
  • • are so psychologically damaged that their concern for mother/child is only fleeting (a small percentage)
  • • don’t want to look stupid or make a mess of things
  • think that if they are ‘visible’ they may have to pay child support or that they or their partner will get fewer benefits
slide22

“We claimed separately

because we got more money

that way. Why would you

want to claim as a couple

and get less money?

It makes no sense!”

slide23

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

• Some gangs will leave a young man alone, once he becomes a father – especially if he moves away

• A young father’s involvement is likely to be LOW when his baby’s mother lives with her mother or gets lots of support from her

• A young father’s involvement is likely to be HIGH when

_ His own parents support him as a father

_ His girlfriend’s mother/father like/support him

_ His girlfriend gets on well with his family

_ His relationship with his girlfriend is stable

_ His girlfriend is good at relationships (empathic, accepting, a good communicator

slide24

OWN AGENCY

  • Leadership
  • Whole team seeks to engage the fathers
  • Systems and expectations are for routine engagement – e.g. Hull, FNP
  • Fathers are assessed separately from mothers
  • Wherever possible, the agency works with the couple – even if they are not co-resident
  • INTER-AGENCY
  • referrals in (think e.g. Connexions, hostels, drugs & alcohol, criminal justice, youth services)
  • referrals out
slide25
Think Fathers Guide - practical know how for services
  • Think Fathers Champions - services, commissioners, policymakers, employers etc who are committed to supporting father-child relationships. Register by emailing champions@fatherhoodinstitute.org
  • Dad Test - self assessment framework
  • Champions Plus subscription service, including detailed online Dad Test Logbook, support from Regional Development Officers, 10% discount on all products & services
slide26
The Six Dad Test Commitments
  • Leadership
  • Team
  • Environment
  • Marketing and communication
  • Recruiting fathers
  • Monitoring and evaluation
slide27
To register as a Champion:

champions@fatherhoodinstitute.org

slide29

FATHERHOOD INSTITUTE TRAINING:

  • HIT THE GROUND CRAWLING
  • http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/index.php?id=3&cID=1000
  • What is it?
  • Small groups of expectant young fathers meet 2 or 3 young fathers who have recently had babies (with the babies)
  • Trained facilitator, very loose agenda
  • Opportunity for expectant dads to discuss thoughts / concerns with other fathers, and see practical babycare by fathers in action
  • Why does it work?
  • Around the birth most young dads open to information and support
  • • Most are in contact maternity services
  • Confidence/skill gains from learning alongside – and from - other fathers
  • Most men prefer informal services which they feel in control of
  • Simple and cheap to deliver
  • Key Challenge?
  • integrating the approach into other services for families
slide30

FATHERHOOD INSTITUTE TRAINING:

WORKING WITH YOUNG FATHERS

Option A: Standard

A 2-day training

Option B: Accredited

A 3-day training .

Option C: Introductory

A 1-day training

http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/index.php?id=3&cID=998

slide31

All the assertions in this powerpoint are evidence-based.

You will find the references in the Fatherhood Institute’s FREE

Research Summary on YOUNG FATHERS at:

http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/index.php?id=13&cID=575