Press Release

“Keep Fathers in the Family Picture” – Hanafin launches Report on Fathers

Ms Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Children, launched the report Fathers and Families: research and reflection on key questions today (Thursday, 13 December 2001) at a conference in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin.

This is the third report to be published by the Department of Health and Children under the Springboard Initiative (Family support projects). It is written to promote understanding and appreciation of the role of fathers in family life.

The purpose of the research, which was conducted by Kieran McKeown, Social and Economic Research Consultants, is also to stimulate action in areas where positive involvement of fathers in the lives of their children is at risk or insufficiently supported. Such an agenda for action is not just for fathers; it is also for children and their mothers and for the promotion of family well-being in whatever form the family takes.

Minister Hanafin said “An inclusive family helps to create an inclusive society, and fathers need to be kept in the family picture alongside mothers and children”.

The report stated that the development of services for fathers in need of family support faces a number of specific challenges including:

  • Finding out the needs of fathers particularly vulnerable fathers;
  • Adopting and promoting a strengths based perspective to work with fathers as with families generally;
  • Training professionals to see fathers as part of the family;
  • Recruiting more men into the caring professions;
  • Promoting awareness of family services in a way which is seen as supportive of men and fathers at every stage.

The Minister stated that the report successfully identifies gaps and limitations in service provision for fathers and would be a useful resource for effectively addressing the needs of fathers and would guide future service provision.

“I appreciate that fathers involvement in quality parenting is important for the development and well-being of their children and their participation in this parenting can contribute to increased parental equality, both within and outside the home. Through its Family Support Projects, the Springboard Family Support Initiative will continue to try to engage with these vulnerable fathers,” concluded Minister Mary Hanafin T.D.