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  • Project: Working Out Dads: A Roadmap For Sustainability, Reach & Impact
  • Amount: $78,760 over 18 months
  • Year(s) Funded: 2019

Strengthening the capacity of dads in the early years of parenting

One in ten Australian fathers experience poor physical and mental health in their child’s critical early years. Despite this, interventions in early fatherhood are scarce. In 2018, Tweddle successfully piloted Working Out Dads, a free after-hours therapeutic parenting program for dads. This project sees the expansion of the program, further research and evaluation, as well as development of a business case with options for replication and financial sustainability.

Dads participating in Working Out Dads in Wyndham. Photo courtesy Tweddle.

“Research links fathers’ mental health and low parenting confidence with relationship conflict and hostile parenting which impacts a child’s social and emotional health outcomes. HMSTrust funding was vital to the evolution of Working Out Dads and scoping the program to reach as many dads as possible into the future.” Jacquie O’Brien, CEO, Tweddle.

Working Out Dads addresses a discernable gap in support services for fathers. Held in fitness centres, each session includes discussion followed by a 30 minute workout. Evaluation of the pilot showed significant improvements in the mental health and parenting confidence of participants.


  • The program was initially delivered to 13 groups as an accessible 6-week program covering a mix of parenting skills development and personal health.
  • Recommendations from the pilot evaluation and participant feedback have been adopted into the new roll-out, including longer discussion time in each session, an additional final session with a more social aspect, updated delivery manual and communications.
  • Social Ventures Australia are developing a business case for Working Out Dads which will recommend a preferred replication model and an outline of goals, initiatives and financial modelling.
  • Further evaluation of the program will be undertaken by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. This will help fill a significant gap in knowledge about the effectiveness of early intervention and prevention approaches to promote the health and well-being of fathers in the early years of parenting.
  • Outcomes will be shared with the Early Years and Mental Health sectors, media and academia.