Strong Dads Strong Futures 


Project Aim and Objectives 


This is an explanatory study that aims to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males’ views to define parenting from their perspectives in line with the broader cultural understanding of the nurturing roles of males towards their children, nieces and nephews 

  • Describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s perceptions, expectations and aspirations of successful nurturing, parenting and caring for others 
  • Identify ways to strengthen their social and emotional wellbeing to enable their aspirations as males in their family and community 

Project Team

Project leader:  Miss Amanda Mitchell  

Project partners : Adelaide University  Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Healthy Mothers and Babies Theme, Royal Children’s Hospital  Kornar Winmil Yunti  The Aboriginal Drug & Alcohol Council (SA) Aboriginal Corporation  Aboriginal Health Northern and Central Adelaide Local Health Network Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Primary Health Services  South Australian Health and Medical research Institute (SAHMRI) Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit  South Australian Health and Medical research Institute (SAHMRI) Healthy Mothers and Babies Theme

Administering organisation:  Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia    

Start Date: 26/03/2018  End Date: 28/03/2019 


Using both community-based and participatory research approach on three case studies from metropolitan, regional and remote areas, the project incorporated: 

  1. A scoping review to examine the state of available evidence regarding programs seeking to value and support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s role as fathers and carers for young children. The scoping review was undertaken by examining literature with specific focus on parenting and caring from young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s perspectives   
  2. Three community-based, participatory case studies in South Australia which included: 
    • a descriptive evaluation of programs for young Aboriginal dads currently or recently operating in each community 
    • In-depth interviews and discussion groups with young Aboriginal men 
    • The extent of SEWB, protective and positive factors including connections to culture and other people were examined  
  3. Descriptive evaluation of current and recent programs employed program logic. Thematic analysis of transcripts and/or notes were undertaken using NVivo.  The project was guided by the Aboriginal Leadership group comprising membership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men holding key roles in research, community, services and policy. 

Project Findings 

The project highlighted that given the opportunity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men parents are interested and committed to their roles and responsibility as parents. The study shows the wants and needs of men in relation to the parenting process from pre-natal, during pregnancy, post-partum and throughout the life course.  

The research also found that providing appropriate education and support services that can allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men perform their roles is crucial for the whole family.    


Identified appropriate resources required for Aboriginal men to be better educated on parenting   

Improved understanding about social and emotional wellbeing for this population.  

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s voices about staying strong, parenting being recognised  


The research has been able to raise more awareness on the roles and responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents including their wants and needs to continue to support their families through the parenting period. This has been achieved through presentations, conversations and dissemination of findings  


 An important benefit of this research is that it is likely to be the first to recognise the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men have in the parenting process  

The information generated through this research is likely to have intergenerational health effects, as young dads will have access to information and activities.  

Relevant activities may be identified and set up to support young Dads during this time and for other young Dads as time goes on  


Indigenous personnel, communities and research team were able to develop (and further improve) their research skills and also gain a better understanding of the process involved before any kind of research can occur. The project also built research leadership capacity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early mid-career researchers under the mentorship of experienced researchers  

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.