The following is the final submitted version of an article (just published in developing practice) by me, Chris May and Craig Hammond, all from the the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle.While it is the August 2015 edition, it has only just been published.
The full reference is:
Stuart, G., May, C., & Hammond, C. (2015). Engaging Aboriginal fathers. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal (42), 4-17.
The important roles fathers play in the lives of their children, families and communities are more clearly understood now than in the past and there is increasing emphasis on father-inclusive practice as a central component of working with families (Berlyn, Wise, & Soriano, 2008; Cameron, Coady, & Hoy, 2014; Fleming & King, 2010; Fletcher, Close, Babakhani & Churchward, 2008; Fletcher, May, StGeorge, Stoker & Oshan, 2014; Panter-Brick et al., 2014; Tehan & McDonald, 2010). Father-inclusive practice ‘responds to the needs of families as a system by including fathering in all aspects of the planning and implementation of service in a manner that enables families to make optimal use of their internal family resources’ (Fletcher et al., 2014, p. 5). While a range of service providers and funding bodies have demonstrated a commitment to working more closely and effectively with fathers (Beatty & Doran, 2007; Department of Families, 2009; Families First Northern Sydney, 2006; Family Action Centre, 2005) many practitioners and services still find it difficult to engage with fathers in their services, particularly when attempting to engage with Aboriginal (1) fathers (Hammond, Fletcher, Lester, & Pascoe, 2003). It is especially important when discussing Aboriginal fathers to adopt a broad definition of father, to include biological fathers, social fathers (men undertaking the role of fathers including step fathers, foster fathers, pops, uncles, the partners of mothers) and father figures (Fletcher et al., 2014). Continue reading