“If I had to give advice to anyone considering attending Caring Dads I’d say do it….”
In March Welcare hosted the graduation session of our first Caring Dads 17-week group work programme.
It provided the opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of the fathers who attended and enabled them to look back and reflect on just how much they had learnt about themselves and the positive impact it had on their relationship with their children.
Our pilot group comprised 6 dads from varied backgrounds. Several participants admitted to being skeptical at the outset of the course. “I didn’t think anything would change,” says one. “I thought the group wasn’t for me.” Another was worried as he didn’t know what to expect.
Caring Dads aims to develop the father’s relationship with his children and encourage child centred behaviour.
One dad on our course had recently moved back in with his partner and 15 month old daughter after 9 months of living apart. He says being around to see his daughter’s development feels great. “We were worried that she hasn’t started walking yet, but this week I‘ve been watching her move around with the baby-walker… I would have missed that before.”
Following domestic abuse or family breakdown fathers often feel angry and deny their part in the situation blaming others. Caring Dads increases men’s awareness of abusive or neglectful behaviour and enables them to take responsibility for their actions. As one participant commented “It’s helped me realise my past mistakes and accept my fault in them”.
All participants noted an improvement over the duration of the course. There was an 85% increase in the before and after score for keeping children safe, family routine and boundaries and behaviour. Over the 17 weeks of the course the men had supported each other providing support, encouragement, and humour, one said the “best thing was the comradeship with other men and having the opportunity to discuss feelings and emotions with other people who understand”
The group intervention is focused on men who have abused, neglected, or exposed their children to violence however it is important that men do not feel judged about the circumstances that have led them to need help and we were pleased that one father summed up our approach perfectly.
“Men should know they are not being judged, it is not a course for ‘bad’ fathers, but men brave enough to admit they need help and who want to improve”.
Our next Caring Dads course starts on Thursday 3rd November. For more information, or to make a referral email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7820 7910