DadsWA was established in 1999 to deliver services and support for fathers, focussing on the child’s first 5 years. DadsWA staff have 30 years of combined experience in working with and supporting fathers.
Over the years the DadsWA Program, has provided a variety of services for dads; antenatal sessions for expectant dads at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Joondalup Health Campus, and Osborne Park Hospital, workshops for dads, playgroups for dads, and phone and email consultations for dads and mothers. All services are provided outside of regular working hours to be more accessible for fathers. DadsWA also has regular conversations about the role of fathers with the mothers who attend Ngala’s Programs. All these programs emphasise the importance of father involvement and the benefits this brings for child development.
DadsWA provides professional development around engaging fathers both at Ngala and to other agencies. This includes half day Engaging Fathers Professional Development sessions at Ngala three times a year, PD sessions for Midwives at KEMH. Paediatric Nurses at Perth Children’s Hospital, Early Years Practitioners at the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health and for Child Health nurses at various locations.
DadsWA lectures on fathers at Edith Cowan University (Social Science students) and Curtin University (Post Grad Midwifery students) four times a year. Topics covered at these sessions include; how engaged fathers benefit their children, how to involve fathers in your practice, dads and breastfeeding, fathers and attachment, and new dads and mental health.
DadsWA is currently providing fortnightly fathering sessions for the male detainees at the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre.
Each year via these programs, DadsWA has direct service contact with over 500 fathers (and mothers) and provides professional education to over 150 practitioners, gaining a wealth of knowledge on the current state of fathers and family services in the process.
Conference presentations on fathering have included:
- Maternal Child and Family Health Nurses Association National Annual Conference
- WACOSS annual conference
- Men and Family Relationships Conference
- Great Southern Early Years Conference
- Goldfields Early Years Conference
DadsWA presented the keynote address at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the WA Branch of Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc (AAIMHI).
Fathering Reference Group
In 2019, Ngala formed a virtual Fathering Reference Group to guide and inform the development and implementation of Ngala’s services, activities and research in ways that meet the needs of children and families – from a father’s perspective. The Fathering Reference Group doesn’t currently meet face-to-face, however members are contacted by email requesting feedback and input on various topics and initiatives. If you are interested in joining the Fathering Reference Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find the Terms of Reference for the Fathering Reference Group here.
Evaluation of ‘Dads Only’ Session of Parent Education offered at Joondalup Health Campus
There is a significant body of research pointing to the benefits that involved fathers bring to child outcomes, mothers’ well-being and family functioning. New fathers often report they are unprepared for the changes that fatherhood brings to their lifestyle and their relationship with their partner.
A high proportion of men attend hospital-based antenatal classes prior to the birth of their first child. These classes present a rare opportunity to engage with fathers at an early stage of their parenting development, assisting them to develop positive parenting attitudes and strategies. Ngala provides a father-specific antenatal session to fathers at KEMH and Joondalup Health Campus. The evaluation of this existing program will inform services about the support and engagement of expectant fathers in antenatal services.
Involvement in this evaluation will involve being contacted by SMS on four occasions by Ngala. In the first SMS message, you will be asked to complete an online survey after attendance at one of the fathers antenatal sessions (about 5-10 minutes). The second SMS message will link to a short three question online survey six months after your baby’s expected birth date. You will receive two other text messages providing you with a link to an external website for fathers, plus the contact of Ngala’s DadsWA facilitator, should you have any questions.