Dads want to be part of their children’s development

“We work with agencies and organizations to look at how they can be more father-friendly.”

If you’re not one already, imagine you’re a dad.

How comfortable do you feel taking your child to something called Mom’s & Tots playtime at the local community centre?

What about when your child’s day care calls to discuss toy hoarding? Will you handle the call and do the follow-up parenting, or hand the phone to your spouse?

It’s this sort of thing, and much more, that Brian Russell thinks about at Dad Central.

Since he started the organization 15 years ago in Ontario, he’s seen society’s perception of fatherhood change. But it’s in the last five years that he’s seen the greatest shift with more men taking ownership of their role as hands-on dads.

Russell is coming to Kelowna Feb. 19 as the guest of CATCH—Community Action Toward Children’s Health, and the B.C. Council for Families. He will speak to invited community organizations about engaging men in raising the next generation.

“We work with agencies and organizations to look at how they can be more father-friendly,” Russell told the Capital News.

With federal funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, he said at Dad Central, “we support folks who are working with families.

“There tends to be a lot of resources for moms—a lot of baby programs and that sort of thing. A lot of fathers are looking for opportunities themselves to be engaged. We work with organizations to get them to be more father-friendly.”

The realization that fathers needed to be more involved in child rearing  come out of poverty studies started a few decades ago—”without an involved father, children were more likely to live in poverty. Our perspective,” Russell said, “is that every child needs an involved, healthy father regardless of what relationship the parents are in.”

Dad Central helps groups make decisions about how they can reach out to dads and get them involved.

“Dads don’t just want to be playmates,” Russell said, they want to be engaged in their children’s school and life decision-making for and with them.

“We want guys to know they are welcome,” when they engage with community family resources.

For more information visit

For more on CATCH, visit

The Effects of Father Involvement: An Updated Research Summary of Evidence.


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