Sole father's experiences of accessing social services : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work at Massey University, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, Manawatū

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The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences and perspectives of sole fathers when accessing assistance and supports from statutory and non-government agencies. This will be achieved by addressing the experiences of men who undertook the role of sole fathers to support their family with the aid of statutory and non-government agencies. The research took a qualitative approach and utilised in-depth semi-structured interviews to gain insight into the experiences of the participants. Eight sole fathers were interviewed, four of the participants identified themselves as straight; while the remaining four participants were divided into two subsets from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexed and Queer/Questioning (GLBTIQ) community namely, three being gay and one identified as bisexual. The study’s findings were congruent with existing literature on the experiences of fathers who accessed social services in the hope of supporting their family. The findings included factors contributing to the discourse fathers felt in accessing supports and their rationale for choosing not to engage with further supports. Furthermore, there were four key findings namely, (1). Men who assume gender reversal roles like that of sole parent, who experience discrimination and minimisation based on gender and sexual identity of their basic human rights as set out in legislation, religion and societies disposition towards men taking up this role. (2). There is still much work to be done to create truly inclusive support services, and an authentically respectful social consensus on issues like marriage equality and non-traditional family types. (3). How social workers can apply this knowledge when supporting and advocating for fathers who are experiencing institutional barriers to accessing social services. (4). The findings provided knowledge around the challenges sole fathers faced in Aotearoa New Zealand when accessing supports in the hope to support and care for their families. These include recommendations to establish a Ministry for Men that oversee men’s health, and the required changes to ensure that sole fathers can access social service supports. Therefore, it is the hope that research supports social workers when they apply this knowledge in supporting and advocating for fathers who are experiencing institutional barriers to accessing social services.
Single fathers, Services for, Social service, New Zealand, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Social work::Family research