Kids First Chief Operating Officer, Ms Nicole Artico has hailed an additional four years of funding for the father-focused intervention program, Caring Dads, as an investment that will make a significant impact in addressing family violence.
As part of the Victorian Government’s 2020-21 Budget, $10.7 million will be allocated over four years to enable the continuation of Caring Dads, provision of brokerage funding and case management.
Caring Dads, a unique intervention program led by Kids First and based in Victoria, works by tapping into fathers’ motivation to be better dads and has emerged as a leader in the family violence space. Its success was confirmed earlier this year with the release of an independent evaluation report.
The University of Melbourne, which evaluated the Caring Dads program over three years, has linked the program to an overall reduction in violence and positive changes in fathers’ parenting after completing the program.
Adapted from an internationally acclaimed Canadian model, Caring Dads is an evidence-backed, 17-week intervention program for men who have used violence or are at risk of doing so. The program helps fathers understand the impact of their behaviour by harnessing their motivation to be good dads.
Evaluation findings drawn from data collected over three years clearly showed that program participants were better able to manage aggressive behaviours and that the program led to positive changes in the father’s parenting as well as an overall reduction in violence.
According to Ms Artico, behaviour change programs that focus on fathers are an important part of the diverse set of measures used to treat and prevent family violence in Australia.
“We are facing unprecedented demand from men seeking help, not just within Victoria but right across the country. We also know that out of all countries where Caring Dads is run, Australia has the highest retention rate of any location.”
“Providing opportunities for men to participate in interventions where their behaviour can be monitored can lead to improved father-child relationships that have potential to enhance children’s social, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Which is what we all want.”
“The 2020-21 State Budget funding means we can continue to offer the much-needed program to even more fathers.”
“We would also like to acknowledge Gandel Philanthropy for their contribution to a Caring Dads pilot program which has led us to where we are today.”
One anonymous father who had participated in Caring Dads described his mindset shift.
“One of the main things was to change our way of thinking about our children’s mothers. That really worked for me. That made me realise some of the habits that I'd formed were very, very negative and I've seen it in my children, the way they're treating their mother…”
To read the full evaluation report from the University of Melbourne please visit www.kidsfirstaustralia.org.au/caringdads
Clare Lombardi, Marketing & Communications, Kids First
0427 181 778