In Australia, there are few services helping men who have used violence that specifically focus on improving parenting practices.
Caring Dads is Australia’s first evidence-based behavior-change program helping fathers who have used violence, to improve their relationship with their children.
Caring Dads supports better parenting practices and a reduction in violence to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children. It seeks to develop fathers’ ability to engage in respectful, non-abusive parenting with the mothers of their children. The program recognises the importance of making fathers equally accountable for their behaviour and for their children’s wellbeing — a role that is often assigned to women as protectors of their children.
Caring Dads is part of a set of complex measures to address family violence and works collaboratively with service pathways and providers to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children. A three-year pilot program commenced in 2017, made possible through a $1m grant from Gandel Philanthropy and $4.6m investment by the Victorian State Government.
Kids First is the lead agency for Caring Dads and has partnerships in place to deliver the program across Victoria:
• North East Melbourne - Kids First in partnership with Uniting
• Inner Gippsland and Western Melbourne - Anglicare
The Caring Dads program comprises:
• a 17-session, empirically-based group-parenting intervention for fathers
• systematic outreach to mothers to ensure their safety and freedom from coercion
• ongoing, collaborative case management of fathers with existing service providers and other professionals involved with fathers’ families.