If we want to ensure infants’ and young children’s healthy development across domains (i.e. cognitive, motor, social-emotional), fathers and father figures are essential. This curriculum highlights stories from communities around the country to illustrate the importance of including fathers from all backgrounds. Additionally, it provides a comprehensive set of resources on father engagement programming. Practitioners, program leaders, advocates, and other professionals working in our early childhood systems of care will walk away understanding the why and the how of authentic father engagement.
Those who use this curriculum will…
- Discover a deeper understanding of the changing role of fathers and father figures in families, programs, and systems.
- Grasp father figures’ emotional needs and understand how to better meet these needs through program design and implementation.
- Investigate why the images, symbols, and ideas associated with father figures are paramount.
- Explore how fatherhood programs fit into early childhood programs and systems.
- Practice using a language and framework for working with LGBTQ+ fathers, father figures, and parents.
- Gain knowledge and confidence about where to go next – where to find resources, how to build skills, and how to overcome obstacles to fatherhood engagement.
- Unlearn outdated ways of talking and thinking about fatherhood, while also reclaiming ancient, timeless aspects of fatherhood.
Audience & Partners
Partners in Infant and Early Childhood Systems of Care (SoC) are charged with drawing attention to issues facing young children and their families within larger service delivery systems. These partners are well-positioned to center their work on engaging fathers and father figures. Partners within systems of care do the following:
- Actualize a promotion and prevention approach to the assessment and treatment of mental health issues that emerge during the early years.
- Support the development of relationships with the familial and community constellations that surround a child–including with fathers and father figures.
- Empower families and related practitioners to support the social-emotional development of children, highlighting the important and unique contributions of fathers.
Broadly, these commitments and activities can build the capacity of infants, toddlers, and young children for success upon entering school and later in life. Our Infant and Early Childhood SOC partners and audience for this curriculum include:
- The infant and early childhood mental health workforce.
- ECE providers
- Pediatric primary care providers.
- Program leaders
- Local and national policymakers
- Community-based participatory action researchers