Hiring decisions are among the most important choices any fatherhood program must make. The individuals who work directly with participants make significant contributions and help programs be successful.
Identify key tasks and roles for implementation before recruiting and hiring program staff. Think about:
- What tasks need to be accomplished, based on the program’s logic model?
- What staff roles and responsibilities will ensure these tasks are performed and project goals are met?
- What other tasks, roles, and responsibilities are likely to contribute to program success?
Staff must be able to:
- Relate linguistically and culturally to participants.
- Be sensitive to the needs of men and fathers.
- Be genuine, caring, respectful, and accepting.
- Serve as positive, but realistic and motivational role models.
- See an individual’s strengths and potential more readily than their challenges.
- Demonstrate teamwork and a variety of skills.
- Create and maintain a culture within the father program that embodies empathy and respect for women and mothers.
- Interact professionally and respectfully with all partners, staff, and participants.
Some tasks or roles might be specialized and performed mainly by one person, while others will be performed by several staff members. Some key staff will perform multiple functions. The roles of senior administrators and project champions are especially crucial to program success at these early stages.
Tips & Best Practices
- Partnering with agency staff can expand the types of skills held by your program as well as the services provided to participants. For instance, skills such as training, education, job preparation, job placement, and supportive services can be held by either program or partner program staff.
- The roles of senior administrators and project champions are especially crucial to program success. This is especially relevant during a program's early stages.
- Key responsibilities can include:
- Project direction and oversight.
- Staff supervision and support.
- Community outreach.
Kindering has provided services for children with special needs and their families since 1962. Under the Kindering umbrella, the Washington State Fathers Network began to provide specific support for fathers in 1978. The Network assists dads in becoming more competent and compassionate caregivers for their children with special needs. The program provides resources, information, and education; coordinates social activities for fathers and families; and facilitates biweekly discussion groups for dads.
The program also offers referrals to family therapists who themselves have children with special needs, and holds a five-week group series, Unexpected Journey, for new mothers and fathers. A 2002 University of Washington-Bothell survey of 146 Fathers Network participants found that program participation had positive effects including: decreased anxiety and feelings of hopelessness; increased enthusiasm toward their children and feelings of joy; and improved family relationships. Learn more in the NRFC July 2013 webinar Working with Dads: Resources and Support for Fathers of Children with Special Needs.
What are a few traits a successful fatherhood program coordinator should have?
- A successful fatherhood program coordinator should have:
- Understanding of the important role fathers play in healthy child development.
- Passion for getting fathers involved in the lives of their children.
- Empathy, respect, and high expectations for all fathers, regardless of their backgrounds.
- Ability and desire to build bridges between women and men, and mothers and fathers.
- Knowledge of and connections to the community.
What should I think about before recruiting and hiring program staff?
- How many full-time and part-time positions are necessary, and can the program afford?
- What services might be available through partner agencies?
- What services might be provided by volunteers?
How many full-time employees do fatherhood program typically have?
Fatherhood programs typically have only one or two full-time positions, with other duties performed by part-time staff or volunteers. This becomes a challenge, particularly during the first six to 12 months of a program, when outreach, partnership development, and participant recruitment are the main focus areas.