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May 1, 2011

Chch Teen Dads Project to Break New Ground

Father & Child Trust and Waipuna Youth and Community Trust have received the nod from the Ministry of Social Development for a collaboration aiming to give teen dads better support and both parents to work together better in Christchurch.

The $22,000 p.a. contract is one of nine contracts for teen dad services around the country. A Father & Child proposal to combine the three contracts available for South Auckland into one was unsuccessful, and the Trust will not be awarded any of the individual contracts in Auckland as the Ministry decided to go with teen parent service providers it already funds.

The Christchurch programme is based on respective support workers forming long-term relationships with teen fathers and mothers, providing individual support and mentoring while delivering joint parenting and relationship education. The idea is to foster a sense of ‘doing it together’ in the young parents (regardless of their relationship status) and to be able to troubleshoot together in crisis situations before they deteriorate out of control.

Father & Child started focusing on teen dads more than ten years ago and researched their support needs. The study, published in 2001, found that they were highly motivated to be good dads but were not supported, even discouraged, in this role. They had even lower awareness than older dads about how state-funded services support children and parents, and most haven’t had any face-to-face contact with even the most common child or parent-related services such as a Plunket nurse.

Teen fathers can enroll in the programme before or immediately after their child is born as it is a key aspect of the initiative to establish patterns of working together right from the start.

The Christchurch Father & Child office has now employed a youth worker, Justin Makinson (photo), who comes with four children of his own and a wealth of enthusiasm and life experience.
For enquiries about the programme contact Harald in the Christchurch office on (03) 961 2326; info@fatherandchild.org.nz

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