For Clinicians/Practitioners

About the Practitioner Survey

210 practitioners completed an online survey about their experiences working with fathers in delivering parenting programs. Practitioners were from a range of professional backgrounds including psychologists (39%), social workers (18%), family support workers (12%), case workers (9%), nurses (6%), counsellors (4%), occupational therapists (2%), psychiatrists (1%), paediatricians (1%), and other professions (8%).

Click here to view a one page summary of the key results.

The Findings

Father Participation

While the vast majority of practitioners believed father participation is extremely or very important (99%) for child issues and that programs are more effective when fathers are involved (93%), only 17% indicated that fathers often attended programs.

Practitioner Confidence

In general, most practitioners reported that they were confident in working with fathers (67%), communicating with fathers (81%) and managing fathers’ distress (65%). The areas in which they were less confident were managing resistance from fathers (39%), working with fathers who have been abusive or violent (22%), or who are experiencing substance use issues (27%).

Use of Strategies to Engage Fathers

Most practitioners reported using a range of strategies to engage fathers in parenting programs. Most commonly, practitioners explain to mothers (85%) and fathers (77%) the importance of father engagement and give equal time and attention to both parents (81%).  Fewer practitioners attempt to problem solve barriers to attendance (53%) or offer fathers separate sessions or phone calls (49%).

Barriers and Support

Practitioners reported that the number one barrier to father engagement (that fathers or families report) is fathers’ work commitments (81%). While most practitioners (61%) think their organisation is extremely or very supportive of engaging fathers, only 41% of practitioners reported that their organisation offered sessions outside of regular working hours.

Practitioner Training

Only around a quarter (27%) of practitioners reported that they had received specific training in working with or engaging fathers. Of those, the majority (75%) said the training was extremely or very helpful.

National Training in Father Engagement



Based on the findings from this survey, we have developed a free National Practitioner Training program to help practitioners engage fathers in parenting services or interventions. 

Click here to find out more. 

To enquire about practitioner training, email