Many Australian men face the early days and months of parenting feeling unprepared, lacking information and unaware of the critical role they play in influencing the growth of and development of their newborn child. Dads Connect was a two year research project undertaken at The Royal Women's (Melbourne) and "Birralee" at the Box Hill Hospital in Victoria evaluating the effectiveness of the Good Beginnings antenatal fathering discussions. From 2004-2006, The UTS Centre for Midwifery and Family Health undertook the evaluation of this program.
The Telstra Foundation funded this study through the Good Beginnings organisation. Paul Pritchard from Good Beginnings was involved in the study and Virginia Schmied and Caroline Homer were the primary investigators. Jeannie Minnis was the research midwife working on the study.
The 'Dads Connect' strategy comprised a one hour men-only group discussion facilitated by a trained male facilitator, and was conducted within a series of standard prenatal education sessions. The men-only discussion focused on the crucial role that a father has in the growth, development and well-being of his child, recognition of, and strategies to address the changes in relationship with partner and lifestyle, as well as connecting men to social and community supports.
This strategy was previously employed in four hospitals, two in Tasmania and two in NSW. Process evaluation and anecdotal reports indicated that first time fathers found this intervention beneficial.