Involving Fathers in Family Support: A Practice Tool

Chance, F. & Halligan, F. (2004). Involving Fathers in Family Support: A Practice Tool.
In 2004 Barnardos Cherry Orchard Family Support Project commenced the Da Project, which aimed to increase the level of participation of fathers in the family support project and in their children’s lives. It has been a journey of learning which we think is valuable to share with family support projects and other community based projects in Ireland. This journey is captured in detail in An Evaluation of the Da Project available on As a result of our work we increased our contact with fathers from 21 per cent to 50 per cent. The nature of our engagement with fathers has also changed from the provision of low level support to more in-depth work. In this practice tool we have tried to capture the key steps which have helped us to increase our level of engagement with fathers. The tool is designed for use by family support projects, however other community projects may also find it very relevant in their work. A key issue for us was the importance of developing father inclusive practices and to carry this practice throughout all our work as opposed to viewing working with fathers as an extra piece of work with families. This was a realisation that we came to during the training and evaluation of the Da Project.