Children and Youth Services Review
In this article, we examined fathers who were or had been in contact with the Child Welfare Services in Norway. All of the fathers included in this study had children with women who were unable to take care of them, either because of substance abuse or mental health problems. Hence, the fathers had the primary responsibility for the children. We looked at how these fathers experienced being met and assessed as caregivers by the Child Welfare Service, as well as how they experienced their own competency as caregivers. To explore these themes, seven fathers who were in contact with or had recently been in contact with the Child Welfare Service were interviewed. The discourses on fatherhood, inspired by Scourfield (2003), were used as a framework for the analysis, and interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the interviews. We found the fathers' experiences to be considered within the discourses on "fathers as a threat", "fathers as irrelevant" and "fathers as better than mothers". In addition, we shed light on topics such as the cultural lag, being single-handedly responsible for the children, and the fathers' views on what is important in their contact with the children. The goal of this article was to increase awareness about fathers who are in contact with the Child Welfare Service so that they are met in a way that helps to support them in their role as fathers for the benefit of their children. (Author abstract)
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