While it is widely accepted that social work interventions are more productive when they include fathers, fathers are largely left out of child and family social service interventions in Israel and most Western countries. Current research worldwide focuses on the role that fathers, mothers and social workers play in causing this phenomenon. In this article, we shed light on the importance of a fourth element: the policy-making process. In a case study of Israeli social services, we interviewed leading bureaucrats and policy makers regarding their position on engaging fathers and identified three main conflicts hindering policy makers’ ability and motivation to promote policy favouring father engagement: a gendered profession conflict, a political conflict, and an ethical conflict. We show how these conflicts, each emerging from a different sphere, together create a conflict-ridden environment that may explain policy makers’ lack of action. Finally, we provide our conclusion and discuss the limitations of the study.