The commissioner of the first independent commission on children in Australia, established in Queensland in 1996, presents an overview of the agency's child and family welfare efforts and describes a new program to encourage support for fathers. The aim of the Focus on Fathering Project is to increase understanding about the importance of fathers in children's lives and to promote fathering education and support programs. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach to the problems of fatherless children and high-risk families, with a strong educational aspect and a research component to explore and expand understanding of attitudes and perceptions about fathers in the state. Cooperative activities to raise community awareness about fathering issues are undertaken. One recent project involves a competition among school children asked to write their perceptions and personal experiences with their fathers or father figures, in an effort to draw attention to positive fathering behaviors as a prevention strategy. One aspect of the project involves efforts aimed at imprisoned Aboriginal fathers and better understanding the impact of their incarceration on children. This is expected to provide valuable research data on indigenous parents, but also help raise awareness about the problems facing Aboriginal children, families, and fathers. 19 references.
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