Join the conversation - Framing messages to engage fathers in the first 1000 days

Join the conversation - Framing messages to engage fathers in the first 1000 days

3 August 2017
Framing messages to engage fathers in the first 1000 days

This webinar aimed to help service providers frame effective messages to fathers during their baby’s crucial first years.

Please post your comments and questions below.

This webinar provided a range of examples that illustrate effective messaging with fathers, including video-feedback, group work, SMS texts and father-child play. Strategies for successful messaging, including topics, style and mode of delivery, were also covered.

This webinar was presented in partnership with ARACY.

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are also available.

Related resources

  • SMS4dads
    SMS4dads is a project run by The University of Newcastle that provides new fathers with information and connections to online services through their mobile phones.
  • Refining the task of father-inclusive practice
    This webinar presented the evidence on "what works" to engage fathers, and described recent initiatives using digital technology with dads.
  • Engaging Fathers - Evidence Review
    This report from ARACY aims to set out the knowledge and implementation support that is mostly likely to be effective in changing practice to fully engage fathers in Family and Children services.
  • Fatherhood and mental illness: A review of key issues
    This paper provides a broad overview of some of the key issues identified in the growing literature on paternal mental illness.
  • Engaging fathers in child and family services
    This resource sheet provides ideas for practitioners and policy-makers about how to increase engagement of fathers in child and family services and programs.
  • Bibliography - Fathers
    A bibliography of recent research literature on the topic of fathers.


Thank you for such an informative and engaging webinar Richard, Jennifer and Chris. So wonderful to hear the important work being done in a whole range of areas focusing on the vital role of Dads in the emotional and intellectual development of their infants. Supporting Dads in their new role is crucial. As well as SMS4dads you might like to check out Thanks again for all your great work.
Is the sms4dads program just for first time Dads?
Thank you to all presenters for the insights. I am interested in incarcerated fathers and any existing programs or strategies that help maintain the father's relationship with the child.
Your thoughts on working with families when Father is angry, hostile, abusive. We tend to keep clear of men behaving like this but I wonder if there are ways of providing a thread of connection, allowing for opportunities for these men to engage if they find themselves in a place where they can turn a corner.
I would like to have more information about the percentage of the children who have mental illness due to the father was absent during their childhood. Also what is the percentage for the children to have mental health due to single parent (mother only) situation?
Great webinar. I look forward to promoting the app to our new dads.
Thanks everyone for your comments and questions. Richard, Jennifer and Chris will respond in the next few working days.
Adam Dean
Thanks for watching and the questions. We'll get back to you soon.
Richard Fletcher
Many thanks for this informative webinar. I gained some useful messages both personally and professionally. I am interested to know the team managed to engage the men and fathers in their research in the first place? We're struggling. Any tips appreciated.
Hi Abi - no, it is available for dads with any number of children or first time dads.
Richard Fletcher
Hi Astrid. In the USA, there is the program Baby Elmo, which helps Dads keep father-child relationships positive by bring children into the gaol to be with dad. Google Scholar search on ‘Baby Elmo program’ will bring you recent publications on this. Also, in Australia, Craig Hammond at The Family Action Centre has developed Brothers Inside for Aboriginal fathers who are incarcerated. The Brothers Inside project consisted of two phases of fathering workshops for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison. The aims of the workshops were to highlight the importance of fathers in their children’s' lives; to explore participants' roles as fathers (both in and out of prison); and to identify ways in which the participants could strengthen their connections with their children. More info at: The Fathers and Children Together (“F.A.C.T.”) Program for incarcerated fathers. Was reported in the Fatherhood Research Bulletin No 27 February 2015. Go to and scroll down to find Previous FRN Bulletins
Richard Fletcher
Hi Emma. Practitioners working at intake on Family Relationship Centres, for example those run by Interrelate and Relationships Australia, regularly manage effective work with angry, frustrated and hostile fathers. There has also been a shift in services addressing family violence (see The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence) to recognise that fathers’ wish to have a connection to their children is an important motivator in fathers’ willingness to change their behaviour. We will include some recent research on this in the next Fatherhood Research Bulletin out in August. You might find some useful discussion in Fatherhood Research Bulletin No 26 October 2014 which was a Special Issue on Fathers and Family Violence Go to and scroll down to find Previous FRN Bulletins.
Richard Fletcher

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