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Improving the engagement of fathers in child protection (NISCHR Welsh Government 2010-11)

Introduction

Several studies have shown that child protection workers tend to engage much more successfully with mothers than fathers (this term being used here to mean any men with significant involvement in children’s lives). There have been a number of different criticisms of this tendency, but little evidence to indicate whether improved engagement of fathers by services would improve child welfare. The project addressed this evidence gap. Its aim was to develop an evidence-based training package for social workers on the engagement of fathers, exploring the feasibility of a future randomised controlled trial (RCT) to test the impact of the training on staff practice and on child welfare.


Aims of Project

The feasibility study had three stages: (1) interviews with practitioners, managers and service users about barriers to engagement of fathers, how to best facilitate change and whether or not an RCT of staff training would be feasible; (2) development of a training course based on the interview data and knowledge from existing research; (3) a pilot of the training course in two local authorities and an accompanying mixed method process evaluation. The pilot stage also involved consideration of outcome measures for a future trial, including the use of routinely collected data.

Publications:

Scourfield, J., Tolman, R., Maxwell, N., Holland, S., Bullock, A. and Sloan, L. (2012) Results of a training course for social workers on engaging fathers in child protection. Children and Youth Services Review, 34 (8): 1425-1432.

Maxwell, N., Scourfield, J., Featherstone, B., Holland, S. and Lee, J. (2012) The benefits and challenges of training child protection social workers in father engagement. Child Abuse Review. 21 (4) 299-310.

Maxwell, N., Scourfield, J., Featherstone, B., Holland, S. and Tolman, R. (2012) Engaging fathers in child welfare services: A narrative review of recent research evidence. Child and Family Social Work, 17 (2): 160-169.

 

The Principal Investigator is Dr Jonathan Scourfield and other team members are Professor Alison Bullock (Cardiff), Professor Brid Featherstone (Galway), Dr Sally Holland (Cardiff) and Professor Richard Tolman (Michigan).




Funder

Funded by Wales Office for R and D in Health and Social Care, 2010-11

 

Related Publications

Final Full Report [739 Kb]

Improving the engagement of fathers in child protection (NISCHR Welsh Government).

Jonathan Scourfield, Nina Maxwell, Sally Holland, Richard Tolman, Luke Sloan, Brid Featherstone, Alison Bullock. September 2011

 

Draft Executive Summary [28.6 Kb]

A feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial of a training intervention to improve the engagement of fathers in the child protection system. 

Jonathan Scourfield, Nina Maxwell, Sally Holland, Richard Tolman, Luke Sloan, Brid Featherstone, Alison Bullock.  September 2011