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Supporting Young Fathers Network

Home » Examples of Young Fathers Work » Mixed Approaches - Learning Points

'... I felt a real pressure to create a group for young fathers to get together, it felt like a distraction. I am now doing group work and looking forward to it, but only because it is based on earlier one-to-one work.'

Learning Points:
  • Practitioners need to challenge the assumption that 'group work' is always best and consider the significant benefits of one-to-one work or mixed approaches with young fathers. The TPSS in Hull have found that group work is simply not appropriate to meet the needs of the youngest fathers who access their services. The TPSS say that individual approaches are vital in meeting the complex and multifaceted needs (including emotional) that the youngest fathers often present.
  • Group work is often conducted on the fringes of a project's main activity with little or no attempt to mainstream the work. Projects and agencies delivering services for young fathers need to consider carefully the purpose and benefits group work may have over other individualistic approaches.
  • To increase the likelihood of successful outcomes and sustain engagement with young fathers, group work programmes need to be adaptable and negotiated with the young fathers in sessions using a mixture of approaches and activities. In the ante-natal group for fathers-to-be provided by Sure Start in rural Northumberland, negotiation concerning the aims and content of the individual group sessions is a regular aspect of the work.
  • Group work can achieve different outcomes from one-to-one work. A mixed approach to fathers work, combining basic information, support, and advice alongside the exploration of issues and attitudes connected to fatherhood, is likely to attract greater numbers of young men. M.A.P. in Norwich successfully adopted a mixed approach to working with young fathers meaning they can offer a wide range of flexible support to young fathers.

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