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New Statistics reveal the importance of Dads, 24/03/09 [C]

Preliminary statistics released by Children in Wales and Catch22 today show that children who enjoy a good relationship with their father are less likely to engage in underage drinking, take drugs or smoke cannabis. The statistics are part of the analysis of a survey carried out by Catch22 of nearly 18,000 young people from across Wales as part of the Communities that Care programme. 

The analysis supports what is now a growing body of evidence that a good father child relationship is key to the way young people behave whilst growing up.

  • 86% of the young people surveyed, who live with their fathers, indicated that they felt very close to their fathers.
  • Of those not living with their father, nearly half, (47%) still said that they felt very close to them.
  • Sadly, nearly half of the remainder, 24% of all the children surveyed, had no contact with their biological father.
  • Boys were more likely than girls to feel close to their father (nearly 79% boys, compared to 69% of girls indicated that they felt very close to their fathers).
  • Over a quarter (28%) of the 15 year olds surveyed indicated that they had tried cannabis.
  • However, whilst 39% of the 15 year olds who indicated that they did not feel very close to their fathers had tried  it, the figure dropped to around 24% in the group who felt close to their fathers.
  • The analysis shows a similar trend with respect to  underage drinking and smoking.
  • In addition to the quality of the relationship, the research also demonstrated the importance of parental attitudes towards young people smoking, drinking and taking drugs.

Tony Ivens, Fatherhood Development Officer at Children in Wales said: ” This research shows for the first time specific benefits to young people in Wales of having an involved father in their lives. Whilst traditional support for parents has focussed on mothers, we now know that we must include fathers in the equation if we are to give our a young people the best possible start in life.”

Pat Dunmore, Director of Communities that Care in Wales for Catch22 said: ‘’This shows the value of using an evidence-based approach. The research indicates that for children growing up in Wales  having a positive relationship with your father is just as important as having a positive relationship with your mother. We need to level the playing field and include fathers for the sake of all our children.’


The full report of the analysis, Growing up with Dad is due to be published in May.

1.         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.

2. 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.

3.         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.

4.         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 E-mail: pat.dunmore@catch-22.org.uk