Our aims are to:
• Support fathers to remain involved in the care of their children.
• Maintain good communication between fathers and their partners, in the best interests of their child.
• Reduce fathers’ social isolation.
Families First Southampton seek to deliver services to all fathers and men who provide care for children in collaboration with other agencies. We are seeking to work with family support organisations whose primary criteria isn’t direct work with fathers. We provide an outreach Fathers Worker to work one-to-one with dads to assist them in addressing their identified needs. We will also work with other organisations to establish father friendly drop-ins and support groups.
Having built good networks across the city we signpost fathers/carers to support, when required.
The strategic aims of Families First Southampton are: to support fathers to remain involved in the care of their children and to support healthy family relationships. The main groups of fathers we are particularly offering support to are non-resident fathers, young fathers and where there is an illness or disability in the family.
The outreach is available to all fathers/carers (foster carers and men going through the adoption process). Our support is also available to those who are not presently in contact with their partners and children. Where children have contact with our service we are available to talk about any concerns they may have.
Please note this is not legal advice only a suggested helpful process if you have Parental Responsibility for your child (this mainly means you are on the child’s birth certificate). Contact is still possible if you are not on the child’s birth certificate, please ask for more details. An Outreach Worker from Families First Southampton can support you at any stage of this process. Also see: www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities/what-is-parental-responsibility
These are groups that Families First have partnered with and we have visited. We have seen the play and stay, toddler group set up which from what fathers have told us they feel comfortable taking their children (mainly 0 to 5’s). This includes a friendly welcome, a large space and generally there are dads attending but cannot be guaranteed. These groups are aware of our work supporting fathers.
These are the comments from dads and professionals we have been working with:
"Meeting up with Families First Southampton has enabled me to reflect and get to a much better place, its helped to get some positive things in my life and I’m ready to join back up with my family." DH
"With a bit of help from Families First Southampton I have managed to secure some housing where my children can come and stay, which has been great." MF
Our outreach service requires minimal information just a name, contact details, the best place to meet and the first part of the fathers postcode i.e. SO17.
Referrals are via email or phone with all email correspondence using only the father’s first name or initials. We hold limited information regarding the fathers we work with. If we are required to complete a referral for fathers to another agency we will keep a signed Permission to Share Form.
Families First will refer any safeguarding concerns relating to vulnerable adults and children to the appropriate teams. This information and Permission to Share Forms will be recorded and kept in a locked filling cabinet. Initial outreach could include, attending planning meetings/reviews for families or joint visiting with other workers. Also meeting one-to -one in a convenient place, such as a community centre, housing offices, café’s, children’s play and stay sessions or anywhere that dads feel comfortable.
Nigel has twenty six years of social care experience working in addiction, young homeless, carers work, mental health, learning difficulties, fostering, and many years in children’s social care.
Families First can help you as a Dad directly or connect you with one of our partners for any of the areas below (if not listed, do get in touch):
Child contact and family court
Father friendly support groups
Parenting and positive father/child attachments
Parenting when no longer in a relationship with the mother of your child
Pregnancy choices advice
Involvement in pregnancy and antenatal care
Life and transition coaching
Managing difficult emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, loneliness
Housing, benefits and debt advice
Activities to do with your children
Prison contact and release support
Finding work, training or education programmes
Families First Southampton focuses its work towards fathers however we are seeking to help strengthen the whole family. We registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in November 2015.
After an extensive consultation we are aiming to work collaboratively with other agencies to reach fathers with significant needs. Our overall aim is to help make Southampton to become one of the best cities to be a dad. This will include identifying father friendly parenting support groups across the city which we will make available on social media. Also we aim to highlight the national and local resources that are for fathers. Having started to provide direct outreach work in April 2016 we are establishing different creative ways to share information to support dads and receive referrals from across the City. The outreach will be undertaken chatting with fathers in many varied places and situations. The real challenge is making the contact with fathers and working alongside agencies that are very stretched in their resources to consider joint working.
One approach we are currently working on is to provide a space close by the Family Court where issues of child contact are being worked out.
Often with the waiting around that can happen with family court this will be an opportunity to gain some support at a difficult time. We are working with a partner and hope to have this in place shortly.
We have been encouraged by receiving a grant from Southampton City Council and The National Lottery. We are very close to receiving another grant from a well-known funder that can see our work financially secure for two years. We may just need some small additional finances for particular activities we may arrange. We welcome any feedback regarding our Project and we are currently seeking to engage a volunteer to help with promotion, social media or perhaps some outreach work. This volunteer opportunity is arranged through Southampton Voluntary Services or Southampton University.
Referrals and the work undertaken in the first three months from April to June 2016. Families First Southampton have received a total of 41 referrals for dads who have 63 children. We are currently working closely with the East, Central and West Family Matter’s Teams, YMCA Housing, Clear Refugee Project, SO18 Big Local, Probation and we continue to establish partnerships with other organisations. Also, we have many self-referrals from the 900 leaflets we have distributed across the city.
Please contact us through the contact form below. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/phone 07427289813