The flexible programmes includes up to ten sessions that can be adapted to meet the needs of different African Caribbean fathers including young people, and community groups, exploring subjects that include: stereotypes of African Caribbean men, relationships, how to cope with relationship breakdown and communication issues.
A further specific training programme for practitioners has also been developed to coincide with the launch of new guide for professionals, Working with African Caribbean Fathers that includes background information about black fathers, as well as practical advice about engaging black fathers and examples of successful projects and contact details.
Patrick Augustus, who founded the Babyfather Alliance and is author of the hugely successful Babyfather novels, which describe the lives of four young black men in contemporary British society and have been dramatised by BBC2, will attend the launch.
‘If we can stabilise children, we can stabilise families and – in turn – communities,’ said Patrick Augustus said. ‘This unique new programme and guide book will help African Caribbean fathers and the people they are involved improve family life for everyone concerned.’
Neil Solo, Project Manager of the Babyfather Initiative, which is a partnership between Barnardo’s and the Babyfather Alliance, said: ‘The most commonly heard expression within services working with the African Caribbean community is that black fathers are a “hard to reach” group. Yet more and more research highlights how important fathers are to their children’s development and we ourselves have found fathers wanting a closer, more involved relationship with their children. This programme will help engage African Caribbean fathers and address issues of concern to them’
Throughout 2005 Barnardo’s BabyFather Initiative worked alongside Fathers Direct: The National Information Centre on Fatherhood, to explore fathering in the African Caribbean community. As part of that process, we spoke with practitioners throughout Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Bristol, in the field of social care, to consider and gauge the barriers, to the engagement of African Caribbean fathers. The results of this dialogue, is ‘Working with African Caribbean Fathers – A Guide for Professionals’. A practical tool, workers can reference to assist them in their every day work with African Caribbean fathers.
On the day, we will also be launching, an accompanying training and consultancy service for practitioners and agencies, as well as a, specific accredited parenting course for African Caribbean fathers.