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Dads Matter Too - new programme to support early parenthood

A new approach to supporting dads as they cope with the challenges of a baby's first year of life is being launched in Wiltshire.

Published 14 March 2022

Wiltshire Council is heading up a team that will provide early support and regular catch-ups with dads and men that have a caring role to children under one and may already be dealing with a number of issues. The scheme will be for those who would benefit from additional support to cope with the pressures and challenges of parenthood and where the child may be subject of a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan.

Called Dads Matter Too, the innovative programme will use existing services to provide intensive support. This would be from family key workers and representatives of other organisations, including Splitz and Turning Point. There will also be support from health visitors and midwifery and wider partnership, including army welfare and community mental health.

The group of fathers involved in the project will be supported to focus on their positive strengths and to call on support when they need help to cope.

The programme will be evaluated by The Institute of Public Care, Oxford Brookes University to measure the success of the programme and the way forward.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "So often the focus can be on the mothers and the demands of parenthood when the dad is finding it hard to cope as well. Fathers have an important role to play, and nurturing good relationships is essential. 

"This programme will provide targeted, comprehensive support for those fathers who may already have a number of issues to cope with. The support is designed to address those factors, build on the good and help them enjoy their time as a parent. We want this initial programme to provide real learning, which in turn can be shared with others."

Katy Burch, Assistant Director of The Institute of Public Care said: "This project represents an exciting opportunity to learn more about support for dads in early parenthood, not only for Wiltshire but for all the UK safeguarding and family support sector. It is a privilege for The Institute of Public Care to work alongside the project to gather and share the evidence."

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