What Works To Engage Dads?

Involved Fathers Better For Child And Family Health

There is a strong link between being and becoming a father, and being healthy.  

For many men, becoming a dad is the first time many of them interact in an involved way with the health service. So, there are good reasons to engage them at this time when they are deeply concerned with their newborn child and how they will meet their needs over a lifetime.

Fathering itself is also about the ability to be healthy in terms of providing for the family needs and remaining healthy long enough to see the child reach its potential as an adult and beyond. The fact of higher rates of male mortality through life impacts directly on reaching fatherhood and being healthy as a dad.

Understanding what works to engage dads in the health system 

An ongoing project throughout 2011 and 2012 involves exploration of how to better reach and engage fathers in family health services. This is an important project highlighted in the 2009-2012 Men's Health Action Plan around the Priority for Action 'Better Prepared, More Involved Fathers'.

The project consists of two major parts:

  • An interactive forum in September 2011 that brings together health services workers from family health, relationship counsellors, post-natal services and others in the field of family health. The forum will combine an expert lecture by Dr Richard Fletcher from the Fathers and Families Research Program, followed by a working session that captures the expertise, experiences and advice of health services workers.
  • A survey of health services that will monitor the attendance of fathers with NSW Health services for children and families. We will report the results of that survey to NSW Health, and the report will be published on the clearinghouse.
The Fatherhood Forum explored tactics for better engaging dads in health