Research suggests that children with involved and engaged fathers tend to have more positive outcomes relative to physical, cognitive, and social emotional health. Of children who become involved in the child welfare system, involving multiple parents in the case (e.g. mother and father) often results in a greater chance of a child returning home, fewer placement episodes, and reduced trauma that may be caused by separation anxiety. With the rise of single parenting homes (which are mostly maternal) in the United States, child welfare agencies are examining the efficacy of engaging multiple caregivers (esp. fathers) in the child welfare process. Research suggests that in order to involve fathers in child welfare processes, practices and policies must be intentional in implementing systems and protocols that encourage involvement of all parents regardless of relationship status of the parents. However, few child welfare agencies are required to inquire about fathers or involve fathers in the child’s case. The purpose of this paper is to highlight efforts of the Connecticut Comprehensive Outcome Review (CCOR) process and discuss challenges and lessons learned from interviews and listening forums/focus groups that included social workers and fathers who are involved in the child welfare system in the state of Connecticut. Recommendations and considerations on engaging and involving fathers are discussed. (Author abstract)
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