Fathers' roles have changed in recent years to include more care of their children. Services are, as a result, looking for ways to recruit and involve fathers. Incorporating fathers into established family-related services, however, has not proved to be straightforward. Everything from publicity, opening hours, referral procedures and staff training has required rethinking or reviewing. This paper explores the research relating to fathers' involvement with children and the evidence of effective practice for including fathers in health, education and welfare services. Factors that may influence fathers' involvement with services are reported and the competence of practitioners to engage with fathers when they do come into contact with the services are discussed.
Richard Fletcher is the team leader for the Engaging Fathers Research Program, Family Action Centre, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, NSW.