Wesfarmers and The Fathering Project
From its origins in 1914 as a Western Australian farmers’ cooperative, Wesfarmers has grown into one of Australia’s largest listed companies with headquarters in Western Australia, its diverse business operations cover: supermarkets, department stores, home improvement and office supplies; coal production and export; chemicals, energy and fertilisers; and industrial and safety products. Wesfarmers is one of Australia’s largest employers and has a shareholder base of approximately 500,000. The primary objective of Wesfarmers is to provide a satisfactory return to its shareholders.
Wesfarmers is a generous supporter of The Fathering Project. We are grateful for their support.
The support from Wesfarmers allows The Fathering Project to take a ‘turn off the tap’ approach (preventive approach) at tackling issues involving our children and youth. Issues such as self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide can be prevented through having an effective father or father figure throughout the development stages of a child.
Current statistics gathered from the findings of Australian Evidence of the Impact of Fathering by Dr Stacey Waters, shows how much our role as a prevention organisation is required to help tackle the following statistics:
- 1 in 4 Australian children live in a one parent family and 80% of these children live without their father
- 1 in 5 prison entrants in 2012 had one or more of their parents imprisoned when they were a child
- Children who do not live with their father or a father figure are significantly more likely to have a higher BMI than children who live with their father
- Having a father or father figure live with a child from the age of 4 to 12 significantly increases a child’s learning outcomes (as measured by NAPLAN), their emotional wellbeing and leads to fewer problem behaviours
- Children who do not live with their father or father figure are at significantly increased risk of facing financial hardship
- Children who do not live with their father or father figure are significantly more likely to be absent from school
Research coming out from the United States shows the impact of a father is profound. The presence of an effective father or father figure helps:
- Reduce crime
- Reduce alcohol and substance abuse issues
- Improve mental health
- Reduce risk of teenage pregnancy
- Improve fitness
- Improve socialisation
- Improve school performance
Where we are at
One of our main program, the Schools Program, aims to positively promote the important role of fathers and father figures to the entire school community through the formation of a “Champion” Dads’ group, or Fathering Project School Group.
Since the beginning of the program, over two years ago, we have already engaged with 175 schools (with a target of 200). 72 of the schools now have or are developing an active “Champion” Dads Group.
In 2016, we are aiming at approaching regional schools through the schools program; creating much needed awareness on The Fathering Project within the regions.
Many of the schools with an active “Champion” dads group have been successful with engaging the community of fathers with Dads & Kids activities. Just to name a few success stories: