Skip to main content

About the project

uncle-and-nephew-1251331bwFollowing Young Fathers was designed to fill a significant gap in our knowledge of contemporary young fathers (those who enter parenthood under the age of 25), their changing lives over time, and their support needs and experiences.

The study began with a small scale, baseline study, conducted under the Timescapes Programme (2010-12 funded by the Economic and Social Research Council - ESRC). Further ESRC funding enabled us to extend and develop the project through to 2015. We charted the varied journeys of the young men through their transitions to parenthood; their changing family relationships; their education, employment and training (EET) trajectories; their housing pathways; and their support needs and experiences.

We addressed the following research questions:

  • How and why do young men enter into early parenthood? How is young fatherhood constituted, practiced and understood in varied socio-economic and personal circumstances?
  • How is young fatherhood ‘worked out’ over time? What factors shape the parenting experiences of young fathers and what helps or hinders their aspirations as parents?
  • What impact do policy interventions and other kinds of support have on the lives of young fathers? How is professional support for young fathers perceived by young men, and by service providers?
  • How effective is current policy and practice in meeting the needs of young fathers and what might lead to more effective strategies and provision?

We used Qualitative Longitudinal and Participatory Methods of research to track a sample of young men over time. Details of our research methods, our participants and our dataset can be found in our guide to the study: Researching the Lives of Young Fathers, Briefing Paper, no. 8, available on our publications page.

Details of two linked studies, a Leverhulme fellowship on fatherhood conducted by Dr. Anna Tarrant, and an ERSC studentship on the housing experiences of young parents, conducted by Linzi Ladlow, can be found on the Affiliated Projects tab in this section.

Research Methods

The methods used to conduct this study and details of the dataset can be found in our Briefing Paper no 8, Researching the Lives of Young Fathers On our Findings and Publications page.


ESRC Collaborative Studentship: Housing Young Parents: A Micro-dynamic Study of the Housing Experiences and Support Needs of Teenage Mothers and Fathers (2014- 2016).

Doctoral Student: Linzi Ladlow

Supervisors: Professor Bren Neale, Professor Sarah Irwin (University of Leeds), and Professor Becky Tunstall (University of York).

This project investigates the housing needs and experiences of young parents, including mothers and fathers who are both single and partnered. Currently there is limited micro dynamic evidence on young parenthood, creating gaps in our understanding of the factors that shape pathways into young parenthood and through the early years. Housing pathways are vital as the foundation for establishing parental identities and roles, yet these are under researched, particularly for young, disadvantaged parents in supported housing schemes. This doctoral study addresses these themes, working in collaboration with a local charity, Archway to investigate the factors that shape housing pathways for young parents, to analyse current policy and practice developments, and to consider how lived experiences and policy responses can be brought into closer alignment. The housing support scheme run by Archway, a specialist support centre for young people aged 16-25, forms one of the case studies for this research. The studentship is affiliated to the ESRC Following Young Fathers study.

Leverhulme Fellowship: Men, Poverty and Lifetimes of Care.

Dr. Anna Tarrant.

We currently know very little about men’s perspectives and experiences of work and care within highly vulnerable families with complex and enduring needs. This study will explore their experiences in low-income localities in order to understand the impact that economic, social and material vulnerability has on their social and familial relationships and their interactions with a number of services. The project has involved a secondary analysis of the Following Young Fathers dataset.