The Essential Role of the Father: Fostering a Father-Inclusive Practice Approach with Immigrant and Refugee Families.

Jan 2019 | Sharon Bond.

Abstract: Studies have consistently found that fathers continue to be excluded from mainstream clinical social work practice when clinicians do not actively encourage their participation either because of lack of knowledge of how to engage fathers or biases against considering father involvement important. This holds especially true of immigrant and refugee fathers. With the majority of research studies focused on women and their children, a tremendous gap exists for male refugees and immigrants. Immigrant males and fathers in particular tend to be either forgotten or excluded from mainstream research. A significant gender bias exists in refugee research with less attention paid to boys, men, and fathers. This article provides an overview of the essential role of fathers in child development, the barriers that immigrant fathers face, their resilience through the immigration process, and how clinicians can establish a father-inclusive practice. A review will be presented on (1) the essential role of fathers in child development, (2) demographics of immigrant fathers, (3) the shifting of paternal roles and family structures, (4) social stressors and barriers for immigrant fathers, (5) the resilience of immigrant fathers, (6) barriers for fathers in clinical practice, (7) guidelines for father-inclusive practice, using a culturally informed socioecological family systems model. 

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