Explore New Territories: ZERO TO THREE CONFERENCE, Denver October 2018
Alison Sutton 15/11/2018
I joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers from 13 countries at the Zero to Three Conference in Denver in early October to get some international perspectives. Zero to Three is a policy and advocacy organisation that promotes policies and services for infants and toddlers. During the conference we discussed some key topics that are quite relevant for Aotearoa, including:
Connecting with Dads
It was unusual to have three presentations by men at a conference about young children. Dads talk about different things with their children and interact differently. They respond differently to baby and have different senses of humour. Many dads find it hard to connect with conventional parenting programmes that are typically designed by and run for women. Mass incarceration, joblessness and male mortality has led to a huge growth in single parent black families. Dual generation programmes are the only thing that will make a difference; programmes that build the men’s capability as parents as well as providing explicit strategies for them to develop skills to help their children – like the intergenerational learning programme, Whanau Ara Mua that COMET developed and nurtured for 15 years.
Alameda County has created the Fathers Corp and adopted Father Friendly Principles which have been key to getting organizational buy in from local organisations and city administrators. The first meeting of men from local social services attracted 60 men – more than had entered their building in a decade!