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Fathers’ integration in Quebec’s perinatal and early childhood public policies


Mothers’ physical and mental health, as well as their socio-economic status, are currently acknowledged as determining factors in the health and development of young children in Quebec. It is thus not surprising to find that the majority of government perinatal and early childhood initiatives are directed toward mothers. Yet, fathers today are increasingly involved in the care and education of their children, and scientific studies have shown that their involvement is just as crucial as that of mothers. It is recognized that a father’s involvement optimizes the physical, cognitive, affective and social development of his children. The purpose of this text is to examine how fathers are taken into account in two public perinatal and early childhood policies. It has been found that fathers are virtually absent from Quebec government’s objectives and orientations, and when they do appear, no concrete means are offered to reach them. Considering that health care workers have difficulty offering truly inclusive services to fathers, recommendations with regard to inclusion of fathers in public policies are necessary in order to optimize the health of children and their families.