Dads in deficit?

Support for young fathers should employ their innate abilities and empower them to take action for themselves instead of exclusively delivering new skills within a ‘deficit model‘*. 

*We use the term ‘deficit model’ to refer to a situation where a community is misunderstood, leading to scepticism and hostility.


The University of Wolverhampton’s evaluation of  Young Dads TV concluded that the project has succeeded in helping young fathers around the UK because it focused on their inherent capability to do things for themselves.

Karl Royle, who led the evaluation, said:

“Too often projects start with a deficit model, focussing on doing things that are valued by the intervening agency, such as employability skills for example.”
“Young Dads TV derived its values from the young fathers themselves, and the project was sustained by developing the self-esteem and resilience of these dads, allowing networks to grow and develop beyond their initial purpose.”


In the film below, Joe (a young dad supported by Young Dads TV) explains how Young Dads TV helped him, and how he’s now helping other dads in his area:

See Theo and Freddie talking about what Young Dads TV means to them.

Young Dads TV worked with over one hundred dads from eleven Local Authorities to define the problems they face and then supported thousands more through a mixture of local groups and social media. You can see films of this activity on the popular Young Dads TV Youtube channel. The project was managed by Media for Development and funded by The Monument Trust.

The success of Young Dads TV has led to a new project called ‘The Young Dads’ Council’ that employs young dads to help reduce the poverty and isolation faced by the other young fathers in their area, funded by Trust for London.

To find out how Young Dads TV helped young fathers in the UK and the common problems they face and recommendations for their support you can read the full evaluation of Young Dads TV here or see our handy summary below.

Young Dads TV Evaluation – Executive Summary by Media for Development