To Be Considered a Caring Dads Program

Basic Expectations

In order to ensure the efficacy of the program, to be considered a Caring Dads group, there are certain expectations including:

  •  Running a 17-session group. Sessions must be substantively as outlined in the manual, and may be run once or twice a week.
  •  After session 3, the group must be run with a closed format with the same group of men proceeding through sessions 4-17.
  •  Caring Dads must not be advertised or administered as an alternative or replacement for a community domestic abuse program.
  •  Group entry must be preceded by an intake interview that includes an assessment of men’s risk of continued abuse and their suitability for the Caring Dads group.
  •  Groups must be led by a team of at least two co-facilitators. All reasonable efforts must be made to ensure that the co-facilitation team has education and/or experience in child development/parenting, working with women victims of domestic abuse and working with men who have used violence. Efforts must be made to have male-female co-facilitation teams leading groups.
  •  There must be a minimum of three documented contacts between Caring Dads facilitators and the professionals that referred men to group to discuss goals and progress of men through the group.

Conditions for Group Entry

Conditions for group entry must be met. Most importantly, in order to be enrolled in Caring Dads, men must:

  •  Have regular supervised or unsupervised contact with at least one of their 0-16 year-old children
  •  Be referred due to concerns about physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or child exposure to domestic violence or for being at high risk for these behaviours. Men must not be referred due to concerns about sexual abuse of their children.
  •  Have other professionals involved in monitoring or intervening with their children and/or partners. These professionals are most likely child protection workers, child and family therapists, shelter workers, supervisors at access centres or women’s advocates, among others.
  •  Have signed consent for open communication between the Caring Dads group leaders and the referring professional.
  •  Not be in the midst of a legal dispute that is likely to lead to a legally-mandated end of contact between the father and his children (e.g. application for Crown Wardship)

As part of the intake process for Caring Dads, consideration must be given to the overlapping issues of child maltreatment and woman abuse. Clients specifically referred as a result of child exposure to domestic violence must either be involved or on the waiting list to complete an intervention for woman abuse or have documentation in their file on the rationale for offering Caring Dads in the absence of intervention for women abuse.

Organizational Details

Reasonable efforts must be made by the agency with the license for the Caring Dads program to develop ongoing partnership with child protection, women’s advocates and batterer intervention services if these are not part of their own services.

Facilitators of Caring Dads groups must normally be trained and regulated social service providers (e.g., registered social workers, probation officers, counsellors). In cases where these qualifications are not required, the agency hosting Caring Dads must have procedures in place to ensure ethical and professional conduct of its staff.

The program must also include contact with mothers of men’s children (assuming that they are involved in parenting their children) for the purposes of safety planning, providing information about program content and making referrals to supportive services as part of the Caring Dads program service, or have provisions in place to ensure that these activities are being undertaken by other professionals already working directly with the mothers of men’s children.