Improving Child Wellbeing by Engaging with Fathers

The evidence shows that children whose fathers are positively involved in their lives have better outcomes however historically many services have focused on the mother as the primary carer. This event will explore how health, education, family and social services can become ‘father friendly’ so the wellbeing of Scotland’s children can benefit from the shared involvement of both their parents.

Getting it right for every child by engaging with Scotland’s fathers

In 2014, an inquiry by the Equal Opportunities Committee revealed the failure of services to keep pace with changing societal expectations of fathers. It called for the Scottish Government and all agencies to take greater steps to actively include fathers in their policies and practices, recognising that ‘parent’ is often taken to mean ‘mother’.

We know that:

  • Fathers’ active involvement is linked with their children’s higher educational achievement and improved social mobility; as well as better behaviour at school including reduced risk of suspension or expulsion
  • In separated families high levels of non-resident father involvement protects against mental health problems
  • Decreased involvement by young fathers increases young mothers’ parenting stress
  • Having an absent father can contribute to a child’s difficulties with peer relationships including bullying
  • In child protection; a male carer can act as a protective presence, or have important information and insights into the children’s safety

At this event we will illustrate the barriers that fathers can face in becoming more involved in their children’s lives and highlight how these can be overcome. 

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • How involving both parents improves children’s wellbeing
  • What’s stopping paternal engagement: from working hours to mum-focused marketing
  • Tackling father’s confidence in the parenting, cultural and societal expectations of their role
  • The importance of staff attitudes in boosting engagement
  • Overcoming additional disadvantage such as offending or young parents
  • How we can mainstream ‘dad-inclusive’ practice
  • The role of mothers in encouraging father’s involvement

Who will benefit from attending?

This event will be of interest to anyone planning and/or delivering a service to families in Scotland. This includes teachers, midwives, health visitors, family support workers, early years workers, social workers, child protection officers, children’s charities, community learning and development and many more.



09:15 Registration opens

10:00 Opening remarks from the chair

Sam Pringle, Director and Head of Research, Fathers Network Scotland

Session 1: Why Shared Parenting Matters

In this opening session we will look at how fatherhood has changed over time and the benefits this brings to Scotland’s families. As we do so we will consider the barriers that still exist for fathers who want to be more actively involved in their children’s lives and how our services can evolve to help continue this positive shift towards shared parenting.

10:05 Why shared parenting matters: the evidence 

Dr Gary Clapton, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, The University of Edinburgh and Committee member, Fathers Network Scotland

10:25 Including dads in education

Alison Cameron, Acting Head Teacher, Prestonpans Infant School

10:45 The Importance of Fathers Mental Health 

  • Personal story and speaking to over two thousands fathers
  • The biggest killer in men under 45 is suicide and we still not screening new dads.
  • Impact on fathers with Perinatal Mental Health illnesses. 

Mark Williams, Campaigner, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Author and Founder, Reaching Out

11:00 Table discussions

11:10 Questions and discussion

11:20 Refreshments

Session 2: Overcoming Barriers to Shared Parenting

In this session we will consider dad inclusive practice in a range of settings, with a particular focus on working with fathers who may face additional barriers to becoming positively involved in their children’s lives. 

11:40 The Child at the Centre: father inclusive practice as part of delivering GIRFEC and using the wellbeing indicators


  • Share experiences of a health visitor team in NHS Fife that tries to be father inclusive.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore the national policy context of health visiting practice: Getting it right for every child
  • Identify the challenges within current health visiting practice: implementing the health visitor pathway
  • Illustrate practical ways of engaging with fathers
  • Suggest ways of moving forward

Kate Magumise, Health Visitor, NHS Fife
Morag Rush, Health Visitor/Practice Teacher, NHS Fife

11:55 Supporting dads to be

Andrea Hewitt, Parent Education Coordinator, NHS Lothian

Andrea will be joined by a dad and mum who benefited from a dads to be class 

12:10 Including separated fathers, learning from home and abroad

  • Barriers for separated fathers engaging with their children’s services (education, health, social work etc.)
  • How we compare to the rest of the UK and Europe
  • Learning from at home and abroad: improving how we work with families affected by separation

Ian Maxwell, National Manager, Families Need Fathers Scotland

12:25 Being Me…Being a Dad

  • Who we are in the world…
  • Who we are to those who share our lives…
  • Who we might become as a man and a dad…

Dave Devenney, Head of Programmes (Forces, Prisons and Faith), Fathers Network Scotland

Graham Goulden, Director, Cultivating Minds

12:40 Table discussions

12:50 Questions and discussions

13:00 Lunch

Session 3: Interactive: What Makes A Father Inclusive Service?

In this interactive session we will help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence to better engage male parents and carers successfully.

You will have the opportunity to discuss the themes that have arisen throughout the day, reflect on what they mean in the context of your own workplace, and work with experts from the Fathers Network Scotland to develop the next steps for implementing change in your service.

13:50 Interactive session

Chris Miezitis, Understanding Dad Programme Lead, Fathers Network Scotland

15:25 Chairs closing remarks

15:30 Close of event

*Subject to change


COSLA, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: 1 place £145 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

22 May 2018
United Kingdom



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