Caring Dads - helping fathers value their children

father and child in playground

About Caring Dads

Caring Dads is a group intervention programme aiming to help fathers, of any age, improve their relationship with their children. It helps dads learn how to spend time with children in healthy ways, and understanding the impact on children of controlling, abusive and neglectful actions, which include witnessing domestic violence. The programme is evidence-based, was developed in Canada and has been refined over the last 10 years.

What is Caring Dads?  

Through 17 group sessions fathers will:

  • Learn skills to cope in healthy ways with hard situations
  • Understand how their choices and ways of being a father effect children
  • Increaes awareness about how their behaviours and attitudes can be harmful to children. 
  • Be given ways to strengthen the father child relationship 

The Caring Dads group program runs one evening a week for 17 weeks. This group offers: 

  • A unique chance for men to connect as fathers 
  • A mix of active group exercises and homework

Facts about fathering:

  • Fathers can and want to be a positive influence in the lives of their children
  • Positively involving dads helps children be happier at home and at school. 

Sadly, fathers can also have a negative impact on their children, such as when they: ​

  • Do not understand the feelings and needs of their children
  • Argue frequently with their children's mothers 
  • Use hurtful or controling behaviour

Who can join our Caring Dads programme?

  • We accept referrals from individuals and other organisations.
  • We check fathers are suitable for the programme before it starts with a screening interview
  • Fathers need to be having contact with their children at least every two weeks 
  • There is no fee for dads who live in Lonfon Borough of Lambeth

 

Building on this experience we now run a Caring Dads programme for both young and older dads.  

Interested in taking part or want to find out more? Contact us

A report on this pilot and next steps can be downloaded below.

Facilitator Training

We can also offer organisations acredited Caring Dads training so their teams can deliver the Caring Dads programme. For more information contact Elaine  

Being a Caring Dad

A father talks about the impact of the programme on his relationship with his daughter

There are fathers out there twice my age that can’t do the things that I have learnt to do

I’m 18-years old, one of the fathers at the Caring Dads project and the father of a one-year old daughter. What we mainly learn is how to be a better father; we learn things such as how we can play with our daughter and how we can help them expand on their cognitive skills with educational toys.

My experience of playing with my daughter was sitting her on my lap and letting her watch me play on the Playstation but this wasn’t a correct way to play with her because I wasn’t teaching her anything.

At Caring Dads I’ve become aware of many things people my age aren’t aware of and has been a great positive impact on me as I used to be quite a negative person. But now I have learnt I need to meet my daughter’s needs and how I can improve on this.

Every word that the project worker says in our sessions is always constructive towards me being a better parent instead of being lectured on what we’re doing wrong. I can tell you that every other parent that goes to Caring Dads enjoys the sessions and the knowledge they gain.

There are fathers out there twice my age that can’t do the things that I have learnt to do and it makes me feel so well prepared for when I see my child. I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing.

Ofsted's View

Inspecting St Stephen's Church of England Primary School & Children's Centre in Stockwell in May 2015, Ofsted inspectors talked at length to a Caring Dad and member of St Michael's staff delivering the programme about the process and impact. In their report, they stated:

"St Michael's Fellowship programmes strengthen parenting for vulnerable young parents and safeguard their children exceptionally well. The work is extraordinarily powerful in changing young men and women's attitudes to gangs and offending; it improves their relationships and helps them to sustain the care of their children safely."

Research 

Here are links to some of the research that supports the Caring Dads programme 

NSPCC 'Caring Dads: Safer Children' Evaluation Report 

St Michael's Fellowship 'The Caring Dads Programme with young fathers in Lambeth' a pilot carried out between 2015-2017 

American Pychological Association "Caring Dads, Safer Children: A families' perspective on an intervention for maltreating fathers"

University of Birmingham 'Caring Dads Safer Children' by Julie Taylor

This from the Caring Dads website gives a good overivew of the progamme. 

This is a link to a Caring Dads programme running in Leeds. 

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