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‘Dads Matter Too’ evaluation

Wiltshire Council launches ‘Dads Matter Too’, an innovative programme to enhance engagement and support to fathers of infants under 1 year subject of a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan. The Institute of Public Care is delighted to have been appointed evaluation partner to the programme.

For more information about the programme and the evaluation, visit Wiltshire Council website here.

Further information

The September 2021 Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report 'The Myth of Invisible Men' has drawn attention to a paradox, namely that:

  • whilst men are most frequently the perpetrator of serious non-accidental injury to infants under 1 year;
  • they are simultaneously hidden or invisible to safeguarding services.

Wiltshire Council is launching ‘Dads Matter Too’, an innovative, evidence-informed programme to engage and support fathers and males in a caring role to children under 1 year subject of a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan.

The model enhances existing services, including intensive parenting support and intervention provided to fathers by family key workers. They are supported by a designated domestic abuse change worker from Splitz and a substance misuse worker from Turning Point. It is also supported by designated practice leads from health visiting and midwifery and a wider partnership including army welfare and community mental health.

A group of fathers involved in the project will develop a strengths-based model of best practice guidance, to be rolled out strategically across the partnership.

IPC has been commissioned to evaluate the programme using a mixed method approach including:

  • In depth ‘tracking’ of identification, engagement and support work with fathers during 2022.
  • Standardised and other measures of success of the programme with fathers and the family more broadly.
  • Interviews with fathers and mothers involved with the programme.
  • Interviews with support workers and broader stakeholders involved with the programme.

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, 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."

The evaluation will be led at IPC by Katy Burch and Agnes Turnpenny.

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