The Family Action Centre (FAC) is a practice, teaching and research centre working with families and communities in all their diverse forms.



The FAC currently has 12 active research & evaluation projects in various stages of the research cycle.

  • 6 projects focus on families and fathers
  • 3 are related to domestic and family violence
  • 2 projects focus on community development
  • One pilot evaluation project relating to the DRUMBEAT program

Fatherhood Research Network Bulletin - June 2014

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Fathers and Families staff

Research & Evaluation Projects




Fishbowl - evaluation

An evaluation of a practical group for parents residing in a refuge.

Kerrell Bourne, Dr Leanne Schubert, Jane Mitchell

YAW Stayin' on track

This project is unique because young Aboriginal fathers themselves are helping to build a website which will support other young Aboriginal fathers during their transition to fatherhood. The project is supported by researchers in rural health, fathering, psychiatry and indigenous health. Award-winning filmmaker Gavin Banks is producing brief filmic accounts of the young fathers' stories that will be used on the website to hopefully engage others. The young Aboriginal men will be able to see other young dads telling their stories.

Dr Richard Fletcher and Craig Hammond

Transition Streets Challenge (TSC)

TSC brings neighbours together to explore ways in which their neighbourhoods can become more sustainable and more connected.

Research will explore (through interviews, focus groups, a survey and participant observation) what can be learnt from the TSC project in terms of community engagement and promoting sustainability. The ethics application has been submitted and the interviews will commence in July.

Dr Graeme Stuart with Amanda Howard (Social Work) and Emily Grace (Environmental & Life Science).

Dads Connecting

The Dads Connecting program has been designed by the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle in partnership with Interrelate Family Centres. The program is based on recent Australian research on fathering and adapted from a highly successful model of video-feedback with mothers in the Netherlands.

Dads Connecting aims to help fathers form a stronger connection with their child, especially if they have been separated through family separation, illness, military or workplace duties.

Presentations to welfare/child protection services are continuing and the program is being adapted to offer the program to mothers.

Dr Richard Fletcher, Chris May, Jane Mitchell, Jennifer St George and Claudia da Silva.

Building Connections through Play

Ongoing rollout of this major Interrelate funded project. This research project involves active play based groups for parents and preschoolers.

Dr Jennifer StGeorge and Dr Richard Fletcher

Fathers' role in child injury risk behaviour

This is a  joint data analysis project with The University of Montreal's Professor Daniel Paquette in Canada.

Jennifer StGeorge, Richard Fletcher, Emily Freeman

Grandfathers' views on Grandparenting

Work recently completed and Paper submitted to International Journal of Aging and Human Development

Dr Richard Fletcher and Dr Jennifer StGeorge

Parents' views of father-child rough and tumble play

Analysis based on 60 interviews with mothers, fathers and childcare centre staff, on the purpose of play.

Dr Jennifer StGeorge, Dr Richard Fletcher, Katrien Pickles

Drumbeat evaluation

Evaluation plans agreed to, research design and grant application being prepared

Dr Jennifer St George, Kate Dennis

Deadly Dads Evaluation

An ethics application has been submitted and approved subject to some minor amendments. The ethics approval will enable qualitative data to be collected using audio-visual recording during June 2013 on the Healing Foundation program.

Craig Hammond, Chris May

Got It! Evaluation

Got It! (Getting on Track on time) is a school-based early intervention program offered by the Department of Education & Communities, together with the Ministry of Health and Local Health Districts, under the NSW Government "Keep Them Safe" strategy.  The program is designed to reduce child behaviour problems.

Penny Crofts, Dr Graeme Stuart, Deb Hartman 

In partnership with Debbie Plath Consulting

Glencore Research

Two research projects are being undertaken as part of the Xstrata Capacity Building Project – one with Carries Place Women's and Children's Services and one with Muswellbrook Women's and Children's Refuge (MWCR). MWCR has recently been identified as the preferred supplier for upper Hunter homelessness and outreach services. We will work with MWCR as it transitions into its new role. 

Penny Crofts, Dr Leanne Schubert and Kate Akhurst-Dennis

Beyond Blue

Over 50 researchers, clinicians and managers from Australia, USA, Sweden, UK, Canada and Poland are working on this proposal for developing a National Paternal Perinatal Depression Initiative.

Richard Fletcher, Sharon Douglas, Simon Fowler & 50+ others.
Berry StreetThe Fathers and Families Research program will now develop a Foundations for Practice: Father-inclusive Practice project with Berry St staff.Richard Fletcher & Chris May.
Dads-Kid-ConnectA two year pilot Collaborative Partners Project (via Family and Community Programs) - Dad-Kid-Connect. The project will adapt and trial Dads Connect for families where the child has a disability.Richard Fletcher.

Publications 2014 & 2013

Fletcher R. (2013) Ruw spel van vaders bervordert sociale, emotionele en lichamelijke ontwikkeling van jongens en meisjes. (Fathers rough play promotes social, emotional and physical development of boys and girls)  Edited by Carolien Gravesteijn  and Rene Diekstra Jongens & Meisjes:  Zoek de verschillen?! (Boys & Girls: Spot the difference!) Van Gorcum Amsterdam.  Pp57-67.

Fletcher, R. Father-baby bonding – why and how. Sydney Child, Melbourne Child, Perth Child, Brisbane Child

Fletcher, R. (2011) The Dad Factor. Finch Books

May, C & Fletcher, R. (2013) Preparing fathers for the transition to parenthood: Recommendations for the content of antenatal education. Midwifery 29  474–478

Fletcher R. (2013) Fathers Role in Early Childhood Learning. Early Childhood Australia Everyday Learning Series

Stuart, G (Forthcoming). The Transition Streets Challenge: Potential and challenges. New Community Quarterly.

Lawson, G & Fletcher, R. (Forthcoming). Delayed fatherhood. Accepted by Journal of Family and Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Fletcher, R., Garfield, C & Matthey, S. (Submitted). Fathers' perinatal mental health. Identifying Perinatal Depression and Anxiety: Evidence-Based Practice in Screening, Psychosocial Assessment and Management. Submitted to John Wiley Publishers.

Fletcher, R., Dowse, E., Hall, P., Hopwwod, N., Guest, E & Erickson, J. (Submitted). Identifying depressed fathers during a home visit, why and how. Submitted to CHild & Family Health Nurses Journal. 

Fletcher, R., May, C., & St George, J. (Forthcoming). A fathers prenatal relationship with 'their' baby and 'her' pregnancy - implications for antenatal eduction. Accepted by International Journal of Birth & Parent Education.

Fletcher, R., & St George, J. (2014). Men's Experiences Of Grandfatherhood: A Welcome Surprise. International Journal of Aging and Human Development. Vol. 78(4) 353-380

Conference Presentations - 2013

Fletcher, R., (2012). A Fathers' Role In Reducing Chronic Disease. Paper presentation Australasian Society for Behavioural Health & Medicine, Newcastle 2013 (delivered by Chris May

May, C. (2013) The Importance of Co-parenting Quality as a predictor of Parenting Stress in Families where there is a Child with an ASD. Presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Basque Country, Spain.

Crofts, P (2013) Families in Australia: The Case for Family Studies as an Academic Discipline, Keynote Presentation to Third International Symposium on Urban Society: Keynote address at the International Conference of Child, Youth and Family Studies Under the Context of Globalisation School of Social Development, East China Normal University. 23rd – 24th May 2013

Crofts, P (2013) Intervening Early: Evaluating a Program for Children at Risk of Conduct Disorder, Paper Presentation to Third International Symposium on Urban Society: Keynote address at the International Conference of Child, Youth and Family Studies Under the Context of Globalisation School of Social Development, East China Normal University. 23rd – 24th May 2013. (This conference precedes the next meeting of the Global Consortium for International Family Studies (GCIFS).

Hartman, D. (2013). Gender Inclusive School Education involving Parents and the Community - Global lessons from a Local Australian Field Analysis. Paper delivered at the International Conference of Child, Youth and Family Studies Under the Context of Globalisation School of Social Development, East China Normal University. 23rd – 24th May 2013. 

Crofts, P. (2013) Is this really a case of co-production of knowledge? Analysis of a case study exploring community attitudes to domestic violence, Paper accepted  for Engagement Australia Conference, The Next Steps: Co-producing Knowledge for Social Impact ( Melbourne, 15-17 July 2013