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Fatherhood Institute News February 2014
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Children whose parents live apart do better if they stay overnight with dad too

A key academic paper endorsed by more than 100 leading family researchers and practitioners has claimed there is clear evidence that children whose parents live apart are likely to do better if they have overnight contact with both. 

A panel of 110 experts endorsed a consensus statement published in the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law* saying that the evidence supports shared residential arrangements for children under 4 years of age whose parents live apart from each other, in normal circumstances.

The statement’s significance lies in its challenge to the long-held belief that children do better if they have just one home. Warshak and colleagues stress that there is good evidence that father-child relationships among never-married and divorced parents are vulnerable; that overnight stays are a protective factor associated with increased father commitment to child rearing and reduced incidence of father drop-out; and that there is an absence of studies that demonstrate any net risk of overnight stays.

Policymakers ‘should recognise that depriving young children of overnights with their fathers could compromise the quality of developing father-child relationships’, the authors claim.

*Warshak, R. A. (2014) Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law Vol. 20, No. 1: 46–67.

FRED helps dads, children and schools
Schools taking part in the Fathers Reading Every Day programme say it has helped raise the profile of reading at home and school, has improved interaction between dads and children, and has got dads more involved in school life.

‘Children who took part became a lot more confident with their reading and seemed more eager to read. Many dads carried on after FRED and kept asking for new books every day,’ one south London teacher reported.

We can train you to run FRED in your area for as little as £65 per participant. Find out more on our website.

Co-op sets target for male nursery staff 
The Cooperative Childcare, which runs 50 UK nurseries, is aiming for a 10% male workforce by September 2014. Do you have a target for increasing the number of men you employ and/or ideas for how best to get more men into childcare? Please get in touch.

Top tips for young carer projects
As partners in the Children’s Society’s Young Carers in Focus project, we are producing some top tips for project workers supporting young carers, on how to engage effectively with young carers’ fathers and father-figures.

Sometimes young carers (around 12% of whom are less than 10 years old) are caring for ill fathers. Sometimes dad works long hours, or lives apart from mum. Whatever the situation, these fathers are really important to their children – but are often overlooked. We want to change that.

If you have any experience of engaging with dads in ‘young carer families’, we’d love to hear from you. Please email Jeremy Davies.

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Can you give us a hand in Northern Ireland?
The Fatherhood Institute is seeking voluntary sector partners either with a base in Northern Ireland or with a UK reach, for development of a Big Lottery bid to deliver a simple effective education intervention focused on primary aged children and their dads/male carers. If you’re interested in partnering in this bid or would like further information please email Kathy Jones or call her on 07867 761251.

Make 2014 the Year of the Dad
Our Dads Included training and self-assessment package is perfect if you really want to make 2014 the Year of the Dad. Research shows that dads’ groups will only get you so far – we can show you how to really get to grips with father-inclusive practice, by training you, helping you assess what you could be doing better, and coming back a few months later to see how you’ve got on. Find out more on our website.

And don’t forget our Dads Included Toolkit, now available for just £15 plus P&P.

Tell us what you’re up to!
We’re always interested to hear from you – whether you’re developing good practice or have a question we or others in the field might help you with. Maybe you could write a guest blog for our website, or share things on our Facebook page? To stay in touch, ‘like’ our page and you should start to see our updates in your own timeline – and if you want to have your say, feel free to leave comments or share information about what you’re up to locally. And if you’re on Twitter, why not follow us there too?
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