Fatherhood Research & Practice Network Webinar: Findings from FRPN-Funded Projects: Home Visiting, Child Welfare Cases & a Meta-Analysis of Father Education Programs

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Publication Date
December 6, 2018

Funded by the ACF Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Fatherhood Research & Practice Network (FRPN) promotes rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs that serve low-income fathers and works to expand the number of researchers and practitioners collaborating to evaluate fatherhood programs. The FRPN has funded 19 grant awards of $1 million since 2014.

On a regular basis, the FRPN leads webinars on topics of interest for fatherhood practitioners and researchers including how to find a research partner and tips for conducting successful evaluation research projects.

In October 2018, the FRPN held a learning community webinar on findings from three FRPN-funded projects on the topics of home visiting, child welfare cases, and father education programs.

Jennifer Bellamy at University of Denver, School of Social Work presented on her paper, “Engaging Fathers in Home Visiting: Lessons from a Randomized Controlled Trial." This study developed a modular enhancement program to an established home visiting program model in Chicago: Dads Matter HV. Dads Matter HV was designed to help home visitors explore fathers’ roles in the family, better engage fathers in services, support the coparenting team and provide guidance on issues pertinent to dads. The intervention engaged participants and home visitors in a series of services related to engagement, building relationships and coparenting. The multi-site, clustered trial took place across Chicago. Data was collected at baseline, four-month follow-up and one-year follow-up. In total, 204 parents of children ages birth through 2.5 years enrolled in the study. The median age of participating fathers was 28, and the majority of participants were Hispanic or African American.

Key findings of the study showed that 91% of families were still participating in services at the four-month follow-up. In addition, fathers enrolled in the intervention group to receive Dads Matter HV services attended 37% of the home visits, compared to 17% of fathers in the control group. Most of the home visitors participating in the study were inclined to serve dads and willing to turn home visiting into a program that is inclusive and father-friendly.

Qiana Cryer-Coupet of North Carolina State University presented on "Understanding the Needs of Fathers with Children in Kinship Care: Father, Practitioner and Caregiver Perspectives." A growing number of U.S. children are living in households where their parents are not present. The majority of these arrangements are informal.  Children may be in relative (kinship) care due to a variety of factors - incarceration, substance abuse, housing instability or child abuse and neglect. Historically, fathers have not been represented in kinship care. These fathers tend to be younger, poorer, less likely to be employed and less likely to be married at the time of their child’s birth.

This study interviewed 25 fathers in kinship care arrangements and 17 human services providers to characterize the experiences of fathers in formal and informal kinship care and outline what supports are most helpful to them.  The interviews revealed that many fathers don’t understand the specifics of their kinship care arrangement. They often defer to their child’s caregiver on decisions. In addition, they want to improve their personal situation – obtaining employment, housing, etc. – before re-engaging with their child. But, they don’t know where to go for help. Providers would like additional training to serve fathers with children in kinship care.

Erin Holmes and Alan Hawkins of Brigham Young University presented on “Caring for their Children: Meta-analysis of Father Education Programs for Nonresident, Unmarried and Low-Income Fathers.” Currently, there are 12 million non-resident fathers in the U.S. This number is growing, and it’s a population that is predominantly low-income. Since the 1990’s, government support through the ACF has been offered to establish responsible fatherhood programs and services. This meta-analysis set out to determine the impact of that government policy funding support within the outcome categories of economic support, involvement/parenting and coparenting for low-income, nonresident, unmarried fathers. There is limited research on the effectiveness of responsible fatherhood programs. In contrast, more than 300 studies have been published on healthy marriage programs and services.

This meta-analysis reviewed 26 studies at 34 locations and combined data across them to determine the effectiveness of responsible fatherhood programs.  Overall, a small, statistically significant difference showed that fathers in treatment groups reported better outcomes than those in the control groups. The most significant impacts were reported in services and outcomes related to coparenting, father involvement and parenting.

To view this webinar and download the presenter slides visit: http://frpn.org/asset/frpn-webinar-findings-frpn-funded-projects-i-home-visiting-child-welfare-cases-meta-analysis
Stay up-to-date on FRPN webinars and technical assistance a subscriber of the FRPN Blueprint. Register at http://frpn.org/how-reach-frpn