Is your workplace using a whole-of-family approach when working with vulnerable communities?


To build strength and reduce risk in vulnerable families, fathers need to be included as part of the solution and not just treated as the problem. Often programs, intentionally or unintentionally, primarily focus and place more pressure on the mothers as the only way to achieve improved outcomes for children.

A key question is how well does your work team support father-child relationships?

All staff in community services/ health, children’s services and relationship counselling programs have an important role in supporting father-child relationships. It is vital that, when they are recruiting new staff, agencies identify which applicants are going to have the potential to work effectively with fathers. This means considering what knowledge, skills and behaviour the workers need to engage effectively with dads, and design the recruitment processes accordingly.

Key considerations are:

  • Recruit all male and female staff on this basis – including reception staff, volunteers etc.

  • Review all person specifications and job advertisements to ensure they reflect adequately the qualities required.

  • When general ‘family worker’ positions are advertised, working with fathers should be identified as a requirement.

  • In all program descriptions, fliers, job descriptions and advertisements, the word ‘parents’ should be replaced with ‘mothers, fathers and other important care-givers’ wherever possible.

  • Interviews should include at least one question that specifically addresses the applicant’s attitudes, knowledge and skills relevant to engaging with fathers.

  • It is helpful to have both male and female service users on your interview panel.

Source: Fatherhood Institute, UK

For more information on father inclusive practice, visit

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