Fatherhood programs need to effectively recruit participants and understanding their immediate and ongoing needs, either through in-house services or referrals to partner agencies, are a key reason why fathers enroll and stay in fatherhood program.
In order to achieve program outcomes and help participants address various needs, fatherhood programs and their community partners generally provide a mix of services.
Many programs provide all services with their own staff. Other programs work with partners or vendors to provide some services. Services and partnerships should be determined by the needs of your program and community. Services provided may also be dependent upon funding sources. Some programs also provide:
- Supportive services such as housing, health, transportation, clothing, or baby supplies.
- Food before or during a group session, particularly for evening sessions, to help participants make the transition from daily demands of work, school, or family and to create informal opportunities to bond with staff and other participants.
- Bus tokens or other transportation assistance to help clients attend program activities.
- Incentives such as gift cards or father-and-child events and outings.
- Certificates that mark program achievements.
Tips & Best Practices
- To reach desired program outcomes and meet the needs of participants, fatherhood programs and their community partners generally provide a mix of services. Services can include individual case management to help clients set goals, overcome obstacles, and follow through with necessary services and assistance with basic education (e.g., GED, high school diploma, adult basic education) or advanced education (e.g., two- or four-year college). It can also include job preparation training, including resume writing, interview techniques, and leaving voice mail messages, as well as general job placement assistance.
- Organizations should conduct a scan of their community to identify other groups that might be offering similar services. These organizations and agencies can be a source of participant referrals, can provide a specific service (e.g., job training, housing, mental health), and can offer money and grants for social services.
- Become key partners with other local social service providers and agencies.
PB &J Family Services in Albuquerque, NM, provides supportive services for parents in correctional facilities, children and caretakers within the community, and post-release support through home visiting, therapeutic bonding-attachment programs, weekly support groups, and a workforce development center. While fathers are in prison, they can participate in mentoring and parent-child visitation programs. Support is provided to their elementary or middle school-aged children before and after visits through the KidPACT program. After release, fathers can participate in Fathers Building Futures, an economic development initiative that trains fathers in a business of their choice while providing affordable, meaningful, and useful services to the community. These businesses include auto detailing, custom woodworking, and mobile power washing and graffiti removal.
How do programs determine what services to offer?
- Programs typically decide what services to offer based on:
- Perceived needs of participants.
- Desired program outcomes.
- Potential barriers to client participation.
- Resources available.
What type of services are generally offered?
- A few examples of the services that can be offered are:
- Legal assistance.
- Anger management.
- Counseling and crisis intervention (e.g., housing, substance abuse, mental health, legal assistance, domestic violence, negotiating child support system).
- General health and nutrition.
How do I find out what services are already being offered in my community?
Community Mapping can be a useful tool to use when working to identify existing community services.