Trust for the Study of Adolescence

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Supporting Young Fathers Network

Home » Reaching Young Fathers » School-Age Fathers - Questions & Tips

'It's hard to identify young fathers because he's not carrying the belly - so engaging means it's often about him coming forward, and having someone in school that he can come forward to, such as mentors and designated teachers.'

Top tips:
  • The lifestyles of some very young fathers and fathers-to-be of compulsory school-age, means having a dedicated worker with time to be flexible and re-schedule appointments can be helpful.
  • During initial contact, allow the young father to choose the venue to help them feel safe. Fathers First in the Isle of Wight tell us that this is a particularly effective way of re-engaging the young father on subsequent occasions.
  • Avoid going headfirst into parenting issues. For the youngest fathers, issues such as education, exclusion, housing, and money issues may well be more pressing. Fathers First and the TPSS in Hull say that nonparenting concerns (e.g. educational exclusion, relationship difficulties, and enquiries about employment and housing) are most often to the fore in their work with the youngest fathers.
  • Look at how you can develop positive working relationships with local schools and networks (e.g. designated mentors, school nurses, Connexions Personal Advisors etc.). Such contacts can be an effective route to promote the services available to school-age fathers and schoolage fathers-to-be. The Health Initiatives Team at Education Leeds receive nearly all their referrals of school-age fathers directly from contacts within the school system. However, other sources of referrals also include teenage pregnancy midwives and school-age mothers.

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