Stayin’ on Track project is jointly funded by the University of Newcastle and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. It aims to encourage young Aboriginal fathers to be: confident in their fathering role, supportive of their partner, closely connected to their infants and children, and a role model of positive male parenting for the community.
Three components: A User designed website for young Aboriginal dads; a pilot study to test the use of SMS messages and a an interactive Mood Tracker with young Aboriginal dads; and, a review of the literature on the needs of young Aboriginal dads.
We already know that the impaired health and wellness among this group impacts negatively on family and community members and imposes considerable costs on the whole community. Aboriginality is a key factor in determining the wellbeing of these young fathers. Services and programs aiming to assist these young men as fathers will need to use a strengths-based approach to avoid compounding the impact of multi-generational trauma, be linked to the community, particularly the male members of the community, approach and treat the young men in culturally appropriate ways, and take account of regional differences among Aboriginal communities. Existing parenting support services are not suited to this group. Stayin’ on Track utilises mobile phone and internet technology to offer information and support for young fathers to build a strong male identity and strong relationships with family. Aboriginal fathers from Newcastle, Tamworth and Moree have been co-designers of the Stayin’ on Track website. They tell their own stories of becoming young Aboriginal dads on film. These powerful films engage Aboriginal fathers to be proud of their roles and to seek information and support.