National framework for father-inclusive practice for early intervention and family-related services
A "Father-inclusive Practice Forum" was held in October 2005, at The University of Newcastle, for male and female practitioners, managers, educators, and trainers in early intervention and family-related services throughout Australia.
The forum, which was sponsored by the Australian Department of Family and Community Services, brought together policy advisers, practitioners and researchers to identify the principles, the knowledge, skills and attitudes for including fathers. The elements needed to build the capacity of organisations to fully include fathers were also documented.
The complete documentation from the Framework is now available through the Competencies and Capacity-building pages of this sitet.
A challenge to services
The principles of father-inclusive practice, presented on the website, provide a challenge to all services and supporting families.Each of the nine principles suggests important questions be addressed at different levels of the service:
Which fathers are currently included in activities?
Do fathers experience your services as respectful of their fathering role, and is your service recognised as an advocate for father-child connection?
Are fathers from diverse backgrounds represented among those accessing your services?
Do policies and staff development processes support the building of a mixed-gender workforce competent to engage with fathers?
The "Father-inclusive Practice Framework" is neither an impossible set of tasks nor a starting point for acrimonious debate. The goodwill, creativity and enthusiasm demonstrated during development and implementation suggest that change is certainly possible and the goal of more-inclusive services fostering healthier, more-harmonious families, is one to which we can all aspire.
When participants were asked how it would be different if fathers were fully engaged in every aspect of family-related services and activities, a woman with many years' experience in welfare and family support services through the Islander community beamed a huge smile as she said "It would be just perfect!"
To view the National Framework for Father Inclusive Practice in Early Intervention and Family related services.