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Strong fathers strong families program
The Strong fathers strong families (SFSF) program was an Australian Government initiative that aimed to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, partners, grandfathers and uncles, and encourage them to actively participate in their children’s and families’ lives, particularly in the antenatal period and early childhood development years.
The aim of the program was to:
- increase access by Indigenous males to culturally appropriate health services and antenatal, parenting and other related programs and health messages
- improve Indigenous males’ ability to contribute positively to the health and wellbeing of the mother’s pregnancy and a nurturing and supportive family environment for the infant
- support the developmental needs of children by encouraging fathers, uncles and grandfathers to be healthy role models and engage fully in the child’s life as early as possible, within the context of local community needs and cultural practices.
The program operated across Australia with specific organisations in each state receiving funding to operate SFSF. In line with local community needs and cultural practices, these organisations conducted a variety of activities under the program, giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers and males increased access to:
- male-inclusive and/or separate men’s antenatal programs to support males in preparing for fatherhood
- community and group activities and strategies that promote positive, healthy, active fatherhood and grand-fatherhood, and the involvement of males in the early development of their children and grandchildren
- health promotion information that promotes new fatherhood and grand-fatherhood as a motivating factor for self-care, and care for families and children
- referral and support to attend local parenting, health and related services (e.g. reproductive health, family wellbeing, counselling, peer support groups) as needed.
The Strong fathers strong families program operated under the mandate that involving men in the lives of their children is crucial for the child’s health and well-being, having a strong intergenerational effect, and that fathers are a critical role model for their children.
Abstract adapted from Department of Health
Department of Health
Woden Town Centre ACT 2606
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: 1800 020 103 or (02) 6289 1555
Australian Government strong fathers strong families program (2010)
Department of Health and Ageing