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Program managers and policymakers often want to know whether fatherhood services are cost effective. Funders are also interested because they want to use their dollars wisely. For example, an independent evaluation of a job-focused fatherhood program piloted in Arapahoe County (Colorado) led to long-term support using county funds. The evaluation concluded that program services increased participant employment, earnings and child support payments at significant levels. The program also benefited the local economy, with each dollar expended on the program increasing regional earnings by $4.37 and regional sales/revenue by $7.34.
This overview is an introduction into how you can assess the cost of operating a fatherhood program and its fiscal benefits. Program managers are encouraged to collaborate with experienced evaluators in university and research organizations for the actual conduct of a cost evaluation.