?23m to give dads text tips on how to bring up their children

Evening Standard UK 07 July 07
Fathers are to be sent tips by text message and email on bringing up their children. Ministers hope the ?23million scheme will appeal to men because it uses “father-friendly” technology such as phones, electronic organisers and instant messaging. They will be encouraged to seek advice on ensuring children do not become obese and improving grades at school. A further ?10.5million will be spent on telephone helplines offering parenting advice. The newly launched schemes are aimed at fathers and other groups who “may struggle to find the help they need”. These include the parents of disabled children, those living in deprived areas and ethnic minority groups. The ?23million will be ploughed into a Parent Know How innovation fund over three years. It aims to “engage” with parents using text messaging, email, messaging software such as MSN and Yahoo! Messenger and social networking websites. The scheme will attempt to ape the popularity of the site mumsnet.com which has 300,000 members. The grant funding for telephone helplines runs from 2008 to 2011. The Department for Children, Schools and Families cited research which said mothers and fathers wanted input from professional or published sources on parenting issues. Fathers were most likely to want to access it over the Internet.