Young People in Focus

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Supporting Young Fathers Network

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'Successful work with young fathers is not rocket science, it doesn't have to be "innovative", in fact it's often not innovative, its about listening to what they want.'

Learning points:
  • To plan and deliver services effectively, it is important to find out about the local community; its geographies, its needs, its existing provisions. The Upfront Teenage Pregnancy Team in Bradford have conducted action research to identify gaps in provision for young fathers from Black and Minority Ethnic groups including those from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and African-Caribbean communities. The team are now using the findings to start filling these gaps in services for young BME fathers.
  • A number of projects and agencies told us it is important for workers to identify the kinds of locations and venues where young fathers can go with their children. Barrow Dads' Group in Cumbria says that identifying somewhere fathers can go with their children (other than fastfood places), is a valuable way to engage with fathers, and can help them to develop regular and positive contact with their children. Such sites should have good transport links and be areas that young fathers can feel comfortable in. These could include spaces that are already shared with other service users (e.g. young women), or be separate spaces held at different times and in different locations to services held for women.
  • Support for young fathers needs to be wider than just parenting programmes. Consider combining basic information, support, and advice (e.g. relating to health, housing, education, and employment etc.) alongside 'fatherhood work'. The UKdadsposse and the Potential Project in Oxford have successfully done this (see In Focus next page) with an emphasis on involving young fathers from African-Caribbean communities.
  • Getting started does not have to be financially demanding. However, gaining funding for starting or sustaining work with young fathers can be difficult. Fathers Plus in Newcastle tells us that to increase the chance of being successful in funding bids, projects and agencies should explain explicitly how their intended work relates to major policy outcomes, such as the five key outcomes in Every Child Matters. Even though sources of funding change frequently (and some such as the European Social Fund may only be available in specific regions or localities) possible options include:
    • Renewal and regeneration funding (e.g. Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and New Deal for Communities programmes)
    • Teenage pregnancy local implementation grant (paid to top-tier local authorities)
    • Local health authorities and Primary Care Trusts (PCT)
    • European Social Fund
    • Children's Fund and Local Network Fund
    • Children, Young People and Families single grant scheme
    • Voluntary sector organisations in the children's and youth sector
    • Sure Starts/Children's Centres
    • Local Authority Children and Young People plans
    • Big Lottery Fund
    • Extended Schools and Healthy Schools Funds.

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