About the project


There’s not a lot out there that speaks directly to dads. SMS4dads supports men in their role as fathers and increases awareness of their influence on baby’s brain development


SMS4dads helps fathers understand and connect with their baby and partner. It also checks in on their wellbeing and offers professional support if needed


There are more than 300,000 babies born in Australia each year. That’s a whole lot of new dads navigating the challenges of parenthood.

Research shows that dads are hard to reach in parenting education and their engagement with health services isn’t great.

SMS4dads is available for new dads to join up and receive text messages and support straight to their phones from 12 weeks into a pregnancy and throughout the first year of parenthood.

The messages have been developed by health professionals and researchers. The tone or “voice” of SMS4dads is designed to be friendly, positive and real.

We are encouraging Health Workers and organisations to let dads know about SMS4dads. This helps them offer a direct service especially for dads – a service that is free, non-commercial and non-intrusive.


SMS4dads was developed by a team headed by Richard Fletcher, Assoc. Professor at The University of Newcastle. Having worked on national and international fatherhood research for over 30 years, Richard knows all too well that dads are missing out on important health services, messages and education.

Because most family and parenting services are aimed at mums, they don’t engage directly with dads or provide specific materials and resources for them.

After years of pioneering the way health services talk and work with men, SMS4dads was created to speak directly to dads.
SMS4dads delivers child development and parenting support and information to dads via their mobile phones. It’s FREE and is now available to ALL DADS across Australia.

SMS4dads also sends tailored messages to special groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dads, dads and their partners who have mental health issues, and dads and their partners who experience the loss of a baby.

With Federal Government funding secured in 2021 along with new partnerships with Red Nose, PANDA, Telethon Kids Institute, Australian Indigenous Health Info Net and the National Rural Health Alliance, SMS4dads is set to change the landscape for how we talk with and support dads in the lead up and after the birth of a baby. 

Richard Fletcher

Associate Professor, PhD

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