A father spoke about a struggle he encountered after moving to Australia that his wife didn’t experience – and the simple way he was able to resolve it.
When Adrian Engel moved from South Africa to Perth for four years, he noticed his wife was forming a circle of friendship – but he was struggling to meet other fathers.
After a chance meeting with another South African father in a playground, they decided to do something about it, creating their own father’s group at Honeywood Elementary School.
“We don’t have a family here in Australia, so forming daddy’s group has helped me expand my circle of friendship and give me a trusted place to go when I need the kind of parenting advice I do. you could normally get it from your own parents, âsaid Engel, a father of two, said.
He is now the WA Partnerships Manager at The Fathering Project – an organization that helps establish father groups to improve parenting, help struggling fathers, and build better relationships with family and community.
NCA NewsWire can reveal that the government will spend an additional $ 4.1 million over the next two years for the Fathering Project, which currently has more than 760 father groups across Australia.
The additional funding – on top of the $ 5.4 million over three years committed in 2018 – will expand programs that support more than 320,000 families through face-to-face peer support groups, parenting education and tools. digital.
Fathering Project CEO KÃ¡ti Gapaillard said the challenges of Covid and changing societal expectations have exacerbated stress within families.
“This funding has come at a critical time for the Australian community,” said Ms. Gapaillard.
“Our experience at the coal mine indicates that a growing wave of men are grappling with fatherhood, leading to poor mental health outcomes and helping to increase rates of domestic violence, suicide, child abuse. and child neglect. “
Michael Baldwin, is a dad’s group leader with The Fathering Project in Campsie, southwest Sydney, which has been hit hard by Covid and the lockdowns.
âWhen my children started in Campsie Primary School, I rarely saw other fathers in the schoolyard, it was mainly the women who took care of dropping off and picking up and fulfilling the various roles of volunteering that you typically see in the elementary school environment, âthe dad-of-five said.
âI saw that many people in Campsie, especially the men, were really struggling with work, relationship and family issues.
âMany were isolated, had mental health issues, and lacked the confidence and opportunities to get involved and connect with their community.â
Mr Baldwin has hosted events and meetings this year and although Covid has created challenges, he plans to form the group in 2022.
Announcing the new funding, Family and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the government is committed to supporting fathers and strengthening their relationships with children.
“This is especially important now because fathers may have felt like they didn’t have a support network from other fathers during times of lockdown,” she said.