Dads say they need helping hand too
By Mary Mann
PETER RAWSON has spent the past three years as a stay-at-home dad looking after his six-year-old son and four-year-old twin girls.
Now the Ballina man is ready to lend a sympathetic and supporting ear to help other dads sort out hassles they are having with their children
Mr Rawson said there was very little in the way of support for men with dependent children, which was why the Ballina-Byron Family Centre was launching The Fella's Family Project.
"We are coming into contact with dads who are struggling with one of the most satisfying and challenging things in their life, caring for their kids," he said.
"Historically, men haven't seen community services especially for them.
"But they need help, too. We want to help dads in any way we can."
Mr Rawson said assistance was needed to link up dads who felt isolated socially with other men with kids, or to help dads who have been through a marriage breakdown to sort out living arrangements.
He said the project, funded by the Federal Government's Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, aimed to create 'positive, engaged relationships'.
It includes things like home visits, social activities and informal group support.
Meanwhile, the Ballina-Byron Family Centre has also launched a support program for male youths aged 11-16.
Mick Brigmore, the youth support worker for the program, said kids in that age bracket often missed out on such support.
"A big part of the program is helping to foster self-esteem," Mick, a father of two, said.
He said any young man who was having hassles whether it was at school, at home or with the police was welcome to be involved in the program.
For more information phone the Ballina-Byron Family Centre in Crane Street, Ballina, on 6686 4109.