The challenge of engaging fathers in the child protection process
AbstractThis is an overview of the well-known difficulties of engaging fathers in the child protection process and makes some suggestions about constructive responses from services. There is brief discussion of the historical context of the problem, current child welfare policy, the culture of front-line practice amongst child protection staff and the behaviour of fathers who come to the attention of child protection staff. Ideas for changes in policy and practice include embracing more sophisticated theory, avoiding the dualistic responses of seeing men as either risk or resource, institutionalizing the engagement of men as core business and building on interventions that have been found by research to be effective. A range of effective interventions may be relevant, including cognitive-behavioural work with abusive men and strengths-based family work such as the family group conference.