Information for dads and other male carers

Information for dads and other male carers.

The relationship between fathers and their children is very important for children's development. Dads have a vital role to play in bringing up children whether they live with or apart from them.

There are various services and sources of support available for dads, stepdads and granddads throughout Oxfordshire which we have listed here.

For further information about other sources of support please contact us.

Why dads matter

Watch a video that contains interviews in which members of the public and a fatherhood champion, Matt Buttery, explore the role of dads and why they matter.

Becoming a dad

You can make an appointment to register your baby's birth online.

You can go along to local baby cafes with your partner for breastfeeding support.

Do you run a group for dads?

If you run a group for dads we can advertise the group (free). Just register at

Parenting support

Being a parent can be one of the most challenging jobs. All mums, dads and carers may need support from time to time to do it as well as they can and there are various sources of parenting support. Most parenting programmes/groupsare mixed but there are some which are specifically for fathers.

For tips and information on how talking to your baby makes a difference visit the Dads - Talk to your Baby website.

Play and leisure

Playing with your child is great fun, helps children’s development and strengthens the relationship between parent and child. Some of the best play is completely free: water painting, scrap modelling and treasure hunts are just some ideas - the Oxfordshire Play Association can give you plenty more. Visit and look at the play resources section.


All babies and young children can get free books through Bookstart.

Non resident dads

The following video contains interviews with a non-resident dad and fatherhood champion, Matt Buttery from Dad Talk. It includes tips on keeping in touch and how to get through living apart.


Why Dads Matter video

Show transcript

00.01 Introduction Music

00.04  A father speaking and a video of him walking down a street

It was trying to get to grips and deal with the fact that someone else was taking on that parental role. Because they lived quite a long way away when we first separated it was trying to deal with the fact it was another person who was going to kind be the one who picked them up when they grazed their knees and did the stuff that, to me, was what parenting was about.

00.25 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk explains what happens when parents separate

Their parents are their first and most enduring carers and where they get that first sense of love that first sense of security and of course what’s happening is the most secure thing in their life is started to become very insecure.

00.38 Writing appears on the screen

How can I maintain contact and a good relationship with my child?

00.43 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk speaking, a video of a father and 2 children getting into a car

Try and come to some sort of agreement with your ex partner as quickly as possible in terms of setting down contact; how often you will see each other. Also try to negotiate those key events Father’s Day, will they won’t they be with you? Their Birthdays, Christmas and other key events in your calendar? Where are they going to be on those days that you negotiate.

01.06 A father explaining when he sees his children

They’ll come every other weekend for the whole weekend from Friday evening through to Sunday evening and for half the school holidays.

01.13 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk explains how to keep in touch

With Social Media you can keep in touch by Facebook, you can keep in touch by Twitter, you can keep in touch by instant messaging over text and I think it’s important you use those methods to keep in touch with your children and also those traditional methods sending a postcard, writing a letter. If you’re going somewhere, maybe you’re going somewhere with work, send them a little note from where you’ve gone and tell them what you’ve done, involve them in your life.

01.35 Writing appears on the screen


Sort out contact arrangements as quickly as possible with your ex

01.41 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk explains about compromising

I think compromise is the whole name of the game when your relationship has broken down. Essentially you’re trying to re-negotiate that relationship. Keep a level of that relationship being civil and also think about communicating effectively.

01.55 Writing appears on the screen


Make the most of your time with your children

02.01 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk speaking, video of a dad and children cooking

My advice would be to make that time special but to be as normal as possible everyday does not have to be Alton Towers, going to the fair or somewhere amazing and just to be clear love doesn’t mean gifts. I think as guys we can sometimes get into buying gifts for our kids to show them that we love them. That can be something that shows love but obviously for each individual child they’ll give and receive love in a different way.

02.26 Writing appears on the screen


Be prepared to negotiate with your ex

02.32 A dad talking about how he felt being a non-resident dad

You know you’ve both got parental responsibility you’re both the parent of that child but when you don’t live with them you feel like a lot of that power has been taken away from you so you so feel less empowered and you then start to look to fight to claw as much power as you can.

02.47 Matt Buttery from Dad Talk explains about relationships

I think the most important thing to remember is that this is a long term game. You want to stay involved in your children’s lives for the long term which may mean that there are some things you just let go or overlook. Of course as a last resort you go back to court or you go to court and you try and let a third party resolve things.

02.26 Writing appears on the screen


Accept that your relationship with your ex has to continue…  for the sake of your children

03.16 A dad reflects on nature of his relationship with his children

The nature of what we’ve worked through over the last 9 years has meant that our relationship is different and the dynamic of our relationship is different. So it’s a positive thing that’s come out of it I think.

03.28 Matt Buttery reflecting on separated dads relationships with their children

You want to spend great quality time with your kids and have lot’s of fun when you see then and let them know you love them and care for them and are interested in them and their lives and what they’re doing. Because they won’t be young for long and you want to spend this precious time with them but I think the key thing is this is a long term game and things are going to change and so you need to maintain that flexible attitude.

Separation and divorce

Family separation and divorce can be difficult and there are various sources of support and advice available for all the family from virtual contact centres to family mediation and counselling.

Oxfordshire Family Mediation (OFM) is a local charity affiliated to the national Family Mediation service who can provide mediators to help families find their own solutions when relationships break down. For more information search the Family Information Services Directory.

Child maintenance

Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support parents provide for their child when they separate. It can help towards a child's everyday living costs and give them the best start in life. It is a legal requirement but many children benefit from an arrangement that their parents have agreed between themselves.  See the Child maintenance options website for more information.

Finding childcare

To look at different types of childcare to help you decide and search for childcare providers.

Paternity rights and pay

When your partner has a baby you may be entitled to paternity leave and  paternity pay.

Flexible working and time off

It may be important to change working hours to accommodate changing family circumstances. All employees can now request a change in employment hours.  This can include to work part time hours, flexi-time, job sharing, term time working and working from home among others. For further details see the working families website.

Parental leave

Parental leave is additional leave from work for employees to look after their child's welfare. This may be unpaid or paid.

Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility is a legal term and replaces the term 'custody'. The Family Rights Group has produced an advice sheet (pdf format, 100Kb) to explain this.

Financial support

If you are looking to find a job or return to work, Job Centres have a range of jobs.

Also your local children and family centre can also provide useful information

Help with paying for childcare

Video information

Videos and other information from are licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0. Enquiries regarding the use and re-use of this information resource should be sent to