New funding to improve child health outcomes by supporting Dads

Australian Government MYEFO funding supports national father-inclusive charity The Fathering Project to address the growing impact of absent, disengaged and ill-equipped fathers on the academic and health outcomes of Australian children.

Children with disengaged fathers experience poorer educational outcomes and higher rates of mental illness, illicit drug use and incarceration. Conversely, children with engaged and supportive fathers or father figures have better learning outcomes and improved mental and physical wellbeing, with benefits lasting well into adult life.

Put simply, fathers have the potential to significantly influence our national health outcomes.

Recognising this, the Australian Government has announced today that $4million will be dedicated towards national delivery of evidence-based programs to improve the effectiveness and confidence of fathers. These funds will be delivered over two years and have been allocated via the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Morrison Government is committed to delivering support and resources to enhance fathers’ parenting skills and strengthen their relationships with their children.

‘The Fathering Project gives fathers the tools and confidence to positively influence their child’s health, social success and academic achievement, allowing their family and the broader community to thrive,’ Minister Ruston said.

“Our additional funding is expected to support more than 320,000 fathers through face-to-face peer support groups, parenting education, and an extensive digital presence.”

According to The Fathering Project CEO Káti Gapaillard, the challenges of COVID and shifting societal expectations have exacerbated the existing stressors experienced by families, both parents and children.

‘This funding has come at a critical time for the Australian community. Our experience at the coalface indicates a growing wave of men are struggling with fatherhood, resulting in poor mental health outcomes and contributing to increase rates of domestic violence, suicide child abuse and neglect.’

‘Our programs, delivered through schools and directly to fathers and families in need, have been shown to improve parenting efficacy and confidence, helping struggling Dads to get back on their feet and build better relationships with their families and community.’

‘We’re immensely grateful to the Australian government, and in particular Minister Ruston, for recognising the enormous impact that fathers have on our community and helping us to help Aussie Dads be the best they can be.’

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