Family affairs: Young single men struggle to be fathers

Young single men want to be good fathers to their children even when they do not live with them. But they face a range of barriers to do so, according to the Family Policy Studies Centre.

While the public debate over single parents has escalated, fathers have been largely invisible says the report. Yet the 40 young fathers interviewed by the centre said that they felt strongly about their relationship with their children and wanted to be there for them. Many of the men carried out a complex balancing act as their involvement with their children could be jeopardised if they took another job or set up home in another part of the city.

However, housing, jobs and social attitudes all impact on young fathers' abilities to be involved while agencies focus on mothers and do not offer much support to young fathers. "What's striking about the young fathers in this study is that they want to be good dads," said Ceridwen Roberts, director of the Family Policy Studies Centre. "They want their children to grow up knowing their father and having a relationship with him - but they find the odds stacked against them. We need to help young dads take on their responsibilities."

"Young Single Fathers: Participation in fatherhood - barriers and bridges"; Family Policy Studies Centre, 231 Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE; pounds 9.95 plus pounds 1.50 p&p