Dads Who Do

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Among African Caribbean children, 65% are looked after by a lone parent and 90% of these are mothers. The Tottenham MP David Lammy meets young fathers who are trying to buck the trend by playing a more active role in raising their children and asks why they think so many of their peers are walking away. The result is a moving and insightful exploration of the challenges facing young African Caribbean fathers.

Lammy's own father left when he was 12. "I struggled with anger and self-doubt. It meant leaning heavily on other figures in the community to fill the great father-shaped hole in my life." He asks young dads how having an absent father affected them. "I broke into a school and took some stuff,"says Cameron. "I had to get into trouble before I realised I don't want this. If my dad had been around I honestly believe I wouldn't have got into trouble and I would have done good in school."

Warren, 26, feels women are partly to blame: "Girls are trapping guys to have babies, knowing the father won't play a major role. I got a text - I'm pregnant. I got a text nine months later - Your baby's born. I was having a lot of sex. I didn't pay no attention."

Lammy visits a parenting course for young fathers at St. Michael's Fellowship in South London. Shawn, a father of five who had his first son at 15, runs some of the courses "I think dads feel pushed to the corner so they stay in the corner. Lots of people have a good heart, they just need guidance."


Produced by Kim Normanton.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
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