School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building King Edward VII Avenue Cardiff CF10 3NN
Research indicates that child protection services still struggle to engage effectively with children’s fathers and/or father figures. One consequence of this is that assessments may not accurately reflect the combination of risk and resources most fathers present for children they care for. Failure to engage effectively with fathers is a problem on two counts. Firstly, it means a failure to hold fathers and mothers equally to account for the safe care of children. Secondly, it means a failure to fully and fairly assess what fathers are actually doing, or could do, to care for their children.
This workshop draws on findings from recently completed research which studied men’s experiences of the child protection system in England. The project, called Counting Fathers In, studied the child protection system from the perspective of fathers involved in it, and followed fathers’ lives (and cases) over a 12 month period.
Through a mixture of presentation (including of fathers’ own stories), case studies and group discussion, the workshop will consider the following issues:
- What may help or hinder effective relationship-building with fathers?
- How might a ‘gender-sensitive’ approach to practice improve engagement with fathers?
- What do strengths or relationship based models of working offer fathers in particular?