Publication details for Professor Lena DominelliDominelli, L., Strega, S., Walmsley, C., Callahan, M. & Brown, L. (2010). ‘Here's my Story’ Fathers of ‘Looked After’ Children Recount their Experiences in the Canadian Child Welfare System. British Journal of Social Work 41(2): 351-367.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0045-3102, 1468-263X
- DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcq099
- Keywords: Narratives, fathering, child welfare, social exclusion, resilience
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Fathers tend to be excluded and ‘invisible’ participants in the child welfare system. We interviewed fathers with ‘looked after’ children in a child protection system in Western Canada. They wanted active roles in children's lives and to become engaged fathers, whether the children were theirs by birth or not. Their stories exposed the strategies they used to convince social workers that they were ‘good enough’ fathers. In the telling, they revealed the barriers they surmounted to create meaningful relationships with these children. In this paper, we focus on the stories fathers used to describe their involvement in caring for children. These were: ‘misrepresented dad’; ‘survivor dad’; ‘mothering father’; ‘denied identity dad’; and ‘citizen dad’. We conclude that the fathers' narratives depict a complex typology that transcends the ‘good father’–‘bad father’ binary that informs practice and consider how social workers can involve fathers more effectively in child welfare practice by actively listening and drawing on their strengths.