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Diary Marker: Launch of Statistics revealing the importance of Dads at Fathers Conference, 9 September 2009, 18/08/09 [W]

New research reveals the extent of drug and alcohol use amongst children and young people in Wales today. However, the research goes on to demonstrate that a strong father/child relationship can act as a protective factor against the worst of these excesses.

The report, “Growing Up with Dad, Fathers and their Impact on Substance Use” is to be launched by the Minister for Social Justice and Local Government at the Growing Up with Dad Conference at the ESIS Conference Centre, Cardiff on the 9th of September.   The conference will also feature a keynote presentation by Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, who will be speaking about her new book 21st Century Boys.

The report is the result of the analysis of research carried out by Children in Wales and Catch22 using the Communities that Care Programme. The analysis looked at nearly 18,000 questionnaires completed by young people of secondary school age in Wales.   It looks at how the young people rate their relationships with their father and correlates this information with whether they drink, smoke and use cannabis.  It also considers what impact the young people’s perceptions of their parents attitudes have on their propensity to use substances.

Tony Ivens, Fatherhood Development Officer at Children in Wales said: “the nature of the relationship that these children have with their fathers clearly has a major impact on their lifestyle choices when it comes to drug and alcohol use. The more we can do to support both the young people and their fathers in this relationship, the better the outcomes for the young people are going to be.  A number of young people report that they do not see their father, even though children who are separated from one, or both parents, have the right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with them.  It is a sad indictment on our society that almost half of these young people still report feeling close to their absent parent only serves to reinforce this view.”

Pat Dunmore, Director of Communities that Care in Wales for Catch22 said: ”’We know the importance of good parenting in children’s lives but for a long time that was seen as the mother’s role. It’s clear from this research that it’s not enough for dads just to be around. What makes the difference is having a good relationship between dads and their children. If dads can get that right it can make so much difference to their children, helping them to grow up safer and happier. And there’s a lot that can be done to help dads achieve that.”

Notes

1.      The report “Growing Up with Dad, Fathers and their impact on substance use” is being launched at the Growing Up with Dad conference at the  ESIS Conference Centre, Nantgarw, Cardiff , on 9 September 2009  by Brian Gibbons, Minister for Social Justice and Local Government.

2.      The statistics were based on 17,933 questionnaires collected from young people in Years 7 to 11 who attended schools in four local authority areas in Wales during the 2004-05 school year.  The sample included 3465 questionnaires completed by 15 year olds.

3.      Children in Wales is the national umbrella organisation for voluntary, statutory and professional organisations and individuals who work with children and young people in Wales. www.childreninwales.org.uk. Children in Wales was established in March 1992 and became a registered charity in 1993.  It aims to promote the interests of children, to improve services in Wales and to put children high on the Welsh agenda.  We work closely with our members who comprise professionals, policy makers and consumer groups to improve the lives of all children living in Wales, but especially young children, those affected by family instability, children with special needs or disabilities, and those suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation.  We collect and disseminate information about children and promote good practice in children’s services through research, policy and practice development, publications, conferences, seminars, training and access to an extensive library and information service.  Children in Wales has offices in Cardiff and Caernarfon.

4.      Catch22 is a national charity that helps young people out of difficult situations. www.catch-22.org.uk We work with 34,000 young people in more than 100 towns and cities in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. We work with their families and their communities wherever and whenever young people need us most; in schools, on the streets, in the home, at community centres, shopping centres, in police stations, and in custody. As young people become more positive, productive and independent, the whole community benefits. Communities that Care (CtC) is a long-term prevention programme designed to steer young people away from crime, antisocial behaviour, drugs and alcohol. The process involves an in-depth survey of young people about their experiences, attitudes and behaviour which assesses the risks young people face and the help they need. This is then used to develop a strategy for local authorities and other agencies to prevent and reduce this behaviour.  CtC is run by the national young people’s charity Catch22. Since its introduction in 1997, CtC has surveyed more than 450,000 young people in communities in the UK.

5.      For further information regarding this press release contact : Tony Ivens at  Children in Wales, 25 Windsor Place, Cardiff, Tel: 029 2034 2434, E-mail: tony.ivens@childreninwales.org.uk

For further information regarding Catch22 and the Communities that Care programme contact: Pat Dunmore at Catch22, 6th Floor, Alexandra House, Alexandra Road, Swansea SA1 5ED Tel: 07773 429910, E-mail: pat.dunmore@catch-22.org.uk