Testing times

Supporting active fatherhood should be seen within the context of the Government’s approach to social reform. This report sets out the extent to which support for fathers during the ‘first 1000 days’ is “toothless” and “more rhetoric than reality”. This concern is backed by new polling evidence from the CSJ which found: Almost seven out of ten (69 per cent) new fathers said they thought “fathers were made to feel like a ‘spare part’ during the pregnancy period”. Six in ten fathers told us that they had no conversations at all with a midwife about their role.

When it comes to Health Visitors, approaching half (44 per cent) of all fathers told us they received little or no advice at all from them on their role as a dad. Only half (49 per cent) of new and expectant fathers say the NHS “caters well” for them, with 40 per cent saying that it doesn’t. More than four in ten (41 per cent) of fathers who have a nearby Children’s Centre have never been invited to, or attended, any Children’s Centre activity at all. This is despite a legal requirement for Children’s Centres to engage with fathers as a “hard to reach group”. This report looks at what more can be done to support fathers during the perinatal period and early stages of parenthood with a recommendation to introduce a ‘Dad Test’ within inspection frameworks to ensure the profile of fathers is raised within services.

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