Caring Dads Safer Children: Families’ perspectives on an intervention for maltreating fathers.


Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate whether Caring Dads Safer Children (CDSC), a program for domestically abusive fathers based on the Canadian Caring Dads model and delivered by a United Kingdom based children’s charity, improved outcomes for the fathers’ families and reduced the risk of further exposure to domestic abuse. Method: The evaluation of CDSC used a mixed method design that uniquely included partners’ and children’s reports on wellbeing and the fathers’ parenting and controlling behavior. There were 271 evaluation participants (66% fathers, 26% partners or ex-partners, and 8% children) provided pre- and post-program reports about the behavior of fathers attending at 5 centers in the United Kingdom. Results: Potential risks to children appeared to reduce postprogram, as fathers and partners reported fewer incidents of domestic abuse; fathers also reported that their interactions with their children improved and their experience of parenting stress, an indicator for potential abuse, reduced. Improvement in some fathers’ behavior appeared to contribute to increased feelings of safety and wellbeing within some families. Children and partners described positive changes in the fathers’ behavior; however, some fathers continued to pose a risk. Case notes indicated that the program influenced referrers’ decision making about children, either by providing evidence of the fathers’ learning or highlighting continuing concerns. Conclusions: CDSC demonstrates promising evidence that the program can contribute to reducing risks to children and families.