ReGen welcomes funding for 'Caring Dads' family violence program (23/05/16)

Melbourne, VIC, 24th May 2016 – Together with partners Children’s Protection Society, the University of Toronto and the University of Melbourne, UnitingCare ReGen today welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of new funding for this partnership to provide targeted family violence programs for vulnerable families, including those affected by alcohol and other drug use.

The funding of the ‘Caring Dads’ program (announced today by Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos) will enable the pilot adaptation of an established Canadian early intervention for fathers whose behaviour exposes their children to neglect, physical and emotional abuse or domestic violence.

The 17-week program addresses the cycle of family violence by working with fathers to understand the impact of trauma on their children and how to be more respectful to their children’s mothers. It also provides parallel support to mothers and has been found to improve women’s and children’s safety and wellbeing, due to meaningful improvements in fathers’ behaviour.

Responding to today’s announcement, ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis said:

This is a tremendous opportunity to provide more holistic responses to the variety of risks associated with parents’ problematic use of alcohol and other drugs. The ‘Caring Dads’ program will provide us with the capacity to engage fathers who are participating in alcohol and other drug treatment with early interventions to increase their parenting capacity, improve their family relationships and reduce the risks of violence, abuse and neglect to all family members.

While many parents are able to manage the impacts of their substance use, without it posing a threat to other members of their family, we know that, where violence does occur, alcohol and other drugs are a common contributing factor.

‘Caring Dads’ will help us reduce the risk of family violence for all family members and further increase our capacity to support all the members of families affected by alcohol and other drug use. It will provide us with a terrific opportunity to working with fathers who are already engaged in changing one aspect of their behaviour to address the impacts of their behaviour on their families.

From our own experience, we know the importance of taking a holistic approach to the causes and broad impacts of problematic alcohol and other drug use. We look forward to working with our partners to establish this program in Victoria and build upon its success overseas by developing a model that integrates family violence interventions with alcohol and other drug treatment.

CPS CEO Aileen Ashford said:

Programs like Caring Dads play such a crucial role in supporting children who experience violence, abuse and neglect.

We applaud the Victorian Government’s commitment to the Caring Dads program, and look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have on Victorian children and families in the future.