Research Clusters

Young Fathers

Led by Dr. Annie Devault, Social Work, University of Québec in Outaouais. Based in the Ottawa/Hull Region

Focus: understanding the experiences and needs of men who become fathers at a young age and identifying the most effective ways to support them.

Publications Related to This Project

Deslauriers, J. M., Devault, A., Groulx, A. P., & Sévigny, R. (2012). Rethinking Services for Young Fathers. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 10(1), 66-90.

Devault, A., Deslauriers, J. M., Groulx, A. P., & Sévigny, R. (2010). Work and social integration of young men who become fathers. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 16(1), 21-46.

Devault, A., Milcent, M. P., Ouellet, F., Laurin, I., Jauron, M., & Lacharité, C. (2008). Life stories of young fathers in contexts of vulnerability. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 6(3), 226-248.

Resources Developed in the Course of This Project

Believe in me!/Je suis là! - DVD
Believe in me!/Je suis là! is the first Canadian film to provide a window into the lives and, more importantly, the minds of a group of young dads. The 26-minute documentary, made by Tamás Wormser, of Artesian Films, gives young fathers a voice: a chance to talk about their aspirations, their frustrations, their mistakes, their pride in the children and also the enormous obstacles they face if they want to be involved in their children’s lives.

This DVD is available from Dad Central Ontario for a nominal fee of $10.00 to cover shipping and handling.


Project Description

Becoming a father as a teenager or very young adult has a huge impact on young men. This cluster's research agenda, shaped with the help of a focus group of young fathers, is examining the multiple dimensions of young fathers' needs and experiences:

  • work, school, housing, and relationships as they affect fathering experience of young men aged 18 to 25
  • addressing negative perceptions of young fathers as expressed through social services and the courts
  • identification of programming needs for young fathers along with programs which currently exist.

The cluster's work has been undertaken through three key research activities:

  • a literature review
  • focus groups and interviews with young fathers, young mothers and service providers who work with young fathers
  • creating and awareness tool kit which reflects the needs and aspirations of young fathers. This kid will include a bilingual DVD/film on the experiences of young fathers and a bilingual service manual for practitioners. Young fathers participated in the creation of this service manual. Under the guidance of Ottawa Public Health Unit staff they contacted and visited services in the Ottawa/Hull region to assist with the process of cataloguing and assessing exist services for young fathers.

The Partnership: Research and community partners include: Jean-Martin Deslauriers, (University of Ottawa), Alan Mirabelli (Vanier Institute of the Family), Tim Paquette, Chair (Father Involvement initiative - Ontario Network), Greg Springer (City of Ottawa, Public Health Nurse), Dave Elder (Ottawa Public Health, Early Years Health Program), Chapman J. Uko, (Life Skills program, Ashbury College, Ottawa), Peter Earle, (Ontario Early Years Center, Peterborough), Brian Desjardins (Young Fathers Program, Ottawa), Tamas Wormser (Artesian Film), Michael Hicks (Hyperactive Communication).Annie Devault, Ph.D., supervised students.

Other related articles

Devault, Annie, Carl Lacharité, L. Denis, Francine de Montigny. Le rôle des femmes dans la vie des jeunes pères vivant en contexte de vulnérabilité. Nouvelles Pratiques Sociales 24. 2 (2013)

Devault, Annie, Gilles Forget, Diane Dubeau. Fathering. Building and sharing knowledge through participatory research. Montréal : Presses de l'Université McGill, 2012. 171. 

Pratt, M. W., Lawford, H. L., & Allen, J. W. (2012). Young fathers, generativity and men’s development: travelling a two-way street to maturity. In Ball, J., & Daly, K. J. (Eds.). Father Involvement in Canada: Diversity, Renewal, and Transformation (pp. 107-125). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Devault, A., & Gaudet, J. (2008). Proejcts That Support and Promote Fathering in Canada: Characteristics of Promising Practices. Canadian Social Work Review/Revue canadienne de service social, 37-54.




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