Children in Armadale are often raised in fractured families, facing a range of social issues which place them at a great disadvantage in life. ‘The Fathering Project’ is seeking to combat these intergenerational cycles, one father at a time. Interweaving a fatherless filmmaker’s own personal journey, this raw, heartfelt documentary will explore the triumphs & tragedies of the men and boys of Armadale, providing insight to a modern crisis of masculinity and the importance of a positive father figure in a child’s life.
Armadale is the last stop on the Eastern line from Perth station. Its colonial town centre, refurbished public housing and revamped community spaces reflect a government effort to address its notorious record as the domestic violence capital of Australia.
As you stroll through the streets of Armadale, the trauma present in the community is clearly visible. An unmistakable pain only skin deep which is all too familiar to me.
Like many of the young boys in Armadale I grew up fatherless, in a community where drugs, suicides, crime and violence were commonplace. Where jail was considered a rite of passage for young men and where families strived meagerly for survival.
I have seen many childhood friends become apart of these harrowing statistics, and it’s prompted me on a journey – to understand why the young men from these communities are so often fated to destructive futures.
It was in Armadale that I came across the vehicle for this journey, a unique and pioneering preventative program called ‘The Fathering Project’. The first of its kind in Australia, aiming to help the children by building better fathers.
I will be joining the frontline of The Fathering Project, as they expand their successful program for the first time into a lower socio-economic area, where fathers desperately need their support.
I will follow the facilitators and fathers of Armadale as they roll this program out, highlighting the necessity and importance for all communities to provide services which support fathers.
The mission of this film – aligned with the work of The Fathering Project, is three-fold. Firstly, to create better outcomes for children, secondly – to shift statistics around suicide, mental illness, addiction and incarceration, heavily weighted towards young men and finally to advocate for services which seek to directly support fathers.
The Fathering Project are unique in their quest, aiming to develop a national support network for men, which specifically works to foster a culture of positive fathering. The research is clear, a positive father or father figure has a significant impact on the development and performance of children.
As we find ourselves in the midst of a fatherless epidemic, with almost a third of Australian teenagers living at home without their biological fathers, this has never been more relevant and necessary.
In the words of Tim Winton ‘boys are putting themselves together from spare parts because there are not enough good fathers around to show them how to become men.’
Direct outcomes for The Fathers Documentary include:
– Highlight the lack of services available for men/fathers and the necessity to provide these.
– Highlight the effectiveness/validity of preventative programs over a purely punitive approach.
– Raise the profile of both the Parkerville and The Fathering Project, and support their mission to get their program in every school in Australia.
– Provide a resource for young people and fathers.
– Create awareness around the importance of effective fathering on children.
You can find out more about the film at the website:
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