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This essay, part of a series celebrating 4Children’s 30th year, sees Lammy identify young dads are a group is neither fashionable nor, in many cases, a group that those in the policy world know much about. He argues that though we don’t even know how many young dads there are, what we do know is that they need help. He says that too often young dads are repeating the mistakes of their own fathers and, unsupported themselves, fail to support their children and their children’s mothers, a situation that suits nobody, least of all the young men themselves, their children.
Lammy says that this is not what young dads want and that, when asked, they say they want to be good fathers and to play a full role in their children’s lives:
“the problem is they are asked what they want all too rarely, and that public services and support are often designed without young dads in mind, with targeted support for this group patchy at best and non-existent at worst.”
“Even where young dads have made poor choices in the past, we should support them to make better choices in the future. We need to give them the tools to be good fathers and to support their children’s mothers, even where that relationship no longer exists. Children benefit from fathers who play a full role in their lives but, too often, young dads are not supported to play that role. "This has to stop. Young dads need targeted services to support their needs and general public services for parents should cater for fathers as well as mothers, seeing dads as resources for their families and not just as potential risks to be managed. Supporting young dads now will be an investment which pays off for years to come for their children.”