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Working with Fathers & male care-givers

National and local serious case reviewshave repeatedly highlighted failures by professionals to effectively engage fathers or identify men who pose a risk to children.

While this area is varied and complex, experts point to a number of key issues:

  • Emotional responses: Most children’s social workers are female and may have emotional responses to men that are influenced by their childhood and experiences.
  • Personal safety: Social workers may fear men who are hostile or even violent. A recent Community Care survey found many child protection workers feel unprotected, and often undermined, by their employers when trying to deal with hostile parents, which in turn affects their practice.
  • Systemic problems: A lack of good supervision and systems to deal with violent or intimidating service users compounds the problem. There is also a shortage of high quality support programmes for fathers, particularly those who are violent.
  • Gender and masculinity: Social workers often alienate men because they refuse to consider gender and masculinity issues

 

Resources

  • Oxfordshire County Council Sounding Board – “Why is it a Mum’s world?” How can we support Dads better? 

Click here for the full Sounding Board report (.pdf format, 474 KB).

  • Top tips for professionals

Click here for 10 top tips on working with Fathers

Working With Fathers Summary – this summary focusses on the importance of fathers and male carers involvement during child protection work.

Useful Links and Publications