Grounded in eight core features, Mindful Fathering helps fathers develop a personal vision for change based on identifying hopes for the future, setting goals and working together.
It is the unique combination of these features that defines and sets Mindful Fathering apart from other interventions.
Why We Developed Mindful Fathering
Children exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, impaired affect regulation, aggression, insecure attachment and trauma effects (Alaggia and Donohue, 2017). High rates continue to be reported, investigated and validated (Fallon et al., 2015; Sinha, 2010).
For decades, Yorktown Family Services has been providing counselling, support and shelter services to women and children affected by this violence. However, we became increasingly concerned that by only working directly with women and children, we were putting all of the onus on them to manage the challenges and solve the problems created by men using violence. They were also asking us: Why aren’t you helping my husband? Why can’t my dad come here too? He needs your help.
It became clear that we were missing a very important part of the picture — and a very important part of the solution.
We’ve always been passionate about parenting. We know from practice and research, parenting is key to helping children. So, we wanted to include fathers, not only for the sake of their partners and children, but also to support them in becoming the fathers they wanted to be.
Becoming better fathers would translate into better relationships with their children and partners, and healthier development and outcomes for their children. And we were all for that.
“Family violence is any form of abuse or neglect that a child or adult experiences from a family member, or from someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. It is an abuse of power by one person to hurt and control someone who trusts and depends on them.”
Government of Canada, 2014
Yorktown receives community capacity-building funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services to begin working with abusive fathers.
The Mindful Fathering manual (first edition) is created to document and continue to guide the work of the program.
“Mindful Fathering” program name is trademarked.
Revision are made to the program manual (second edition) to reflect further changes and, for the first time, to make Mindful Fathering available to other organizations so that they can begin to deliver Mindful Fathering in their communities.
Launch of training for qualified organizations to bring Mindful Fathering to a wider community in Canada, and the USA.