Male care workers can often be the first positive male role models that children have met, and play a vital role. But male care workers can face their own challenges in roles traditionally considered to be mainly carried out by women. Children in Care invariably bring a history of their relationships with males to fostering and adoption placements. Thus, The Fostering Network and CoramBAFF have produced information around how fostering and adoption can be more ‘men friendly’.
In addition, the following research indicates some benefits related to involved fathers: www.emptlondon.com
- The father’s education level is important (Yeung, 2004) and is of course linked to his income: better educated fathers tend to earn more. One study found that it wasn’t simply the father’s income but his permanent income that was most significant. Fathers’ education level tends to contribute substantially to permanent income (Chevalier et al, 2013). Also see the EMPT® promoting positive outcomes for children workbook (2014) Promoting positive outcomes workbook.doc Updated 2017.
- Fathers with more education are able to provide more resources and learning opportunities for their children, and are also more likely to engage in positive interactions, such as reading, with them (Tamis-LeMonda et al, 2013).
- Fathers’ sensitivity in interacting with their children is enormously important and sensitive fathers are not only found among better educated or wealthier fathers: the is enormous variation across social class. Sensitivity/supportiveness by fathers in interactions with their children, their engagement in literacy activities together, fathers’ use of wide vocabularies and strategies such as expanding on what children say, referring to objects and events, eliciting actions, directing attention, prompting play etc. have substantial positive impacts on child outcomes (Tamis-LeMonda et al, 2012).
- The experience of becoming a father can provide a catalyst for making the transition to a more responsible masculine identity. Young men’s masculine identities are strongly defined by locality. Young men ‘at risk’ tend to be embedded in local cultures of hypermasculinity, often with problematic consequences. Many aspire to a ‘safer’and more responsible masculinity, with their aspirations again being largely shaped by local expectations (http://www.open.ac.uk/health-and-social-care/research/beyond-male-role-models/report ).
Some other useful male care worker resources:
CoramBAFF practice note 49 highlights the role of male carers in meeting the needs of fostered and adopted children. It includes discussion about gender in the family placement environment, the developmental needs of children, the experiences and perspectives of male carers, and the impact of allegations and abuse. Issues for agencies to consider and pointers for good practice are identified.