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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/40805
- Facilitating father engagement: the role of Family Relationship Centres
Visser, Amy L.
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Health, Family Action Centre
- The default position of the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 is that children are able to spend substantial and meaningful amounts of time with each parent following separation, The legislation also requires (with some exceptions) that from July 2007, former partners make a bona fide attempt to resolve parenting disputes through family dispute resolution processes. To this end, the establishment of 65 Family Relationship Centres has been approved and funded. In this paper, we argue that fathers and mothers attending the new Centres for dispute resolution may typically have different approaches to mediation and counselling. Furthermore, some individuals' or service providers' beliefs and stereotypes about men's emotions may inhibit fathers' engagement and reduce the effectiveness of the services being provided. Although difficult to measure, 'father engagement' in dispute resolution processes can be taken to include engendering trust and setting goals with the father, while simultaneously balancing the inclusion of the mother. Instruments to gauge fathers' degree of alliance with the mother as a co-parent, and investment in the child, may provide useful outcome measures of the process of father engagement. Professional competencies identified in the cross-cultural literature, such as self-reflective capacity, offer a starting point for equipping practitioners to engage with fathers to ensure that Family Relationship Centres meet their goal of improved outcomes for separating families.
- Journal of Family Studies Vol. 14, Issue 1, p. 53-64
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