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When fathers are actively engaged in their children’s lives, their children experience improved mental, emotional, educational, and social outcomes. The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Division of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) launched the Fatherhood EFFECT program in 2015 to encourage and support healthy father engagement through providing evidence-based fatherhood programs in three communities across the state. The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) is evaluating the success of the EFFECT program through a mixed-method approach. One method to accomplish this aim is to listen to the fathers being served by the programs to learn how they benefit and what they recommend to improve the programs. This policy brief summarizes findings from three focus groups with fathers who were past and current participants in each program.
The fathers we spoke with shared numerous benefits from their participation in the EFFECT programs. They appreciated the positive influence of the facilitators and the space to share experiences and emotions with other fathers. There is a need for more institutional and organizational support for fathers and their specific needs, as well as more spaces and opportunities to engage with their children. The programs provide a much needed resource to fathers who are typically not well-served by social programs, and fathers claim that the bond they form with the program facilitator and the connections he provides to other community resources is as valuable to them as the program curriculum.