Impact Evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry & Mobility (ReFORM) in Appalachian Kentucky

Nov 2020 | Joseph M. Calvert, Erin Winston, Robert Seaver, & J. Matthew Webster

Structured Abstract: Impact Evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry & Mobility (ReFORM) in Appalachian Kentucky” Objective. Mountain Comprehensive Care Center (MCCC) received a grant from the Administration for Children and Families to implement the Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry & Mobility (ReFORM) program to strengthen positive father-child engagement, improve employment and economic mobility opportunities, improve healthy relationships and marriage, and decrease barriers to successful community reentry for incarcerated fathers. An evaluation was performed to assess the implementation and impact of this program. 

Study design: The evaluation used a matched comparison, quasi-experimental research design, which included an intervention group of incarcerated fathers who received MCCC’s ReFORM program services while in two regional jails and a comparison group of incarcerated fathers in a comparable regional jail who did not receive ReFORM services. Data were collected from participants at three timepoints: baseline, three months post-baseline, and six months after initial release from jail. At six months, the final analytic sample size was 211. 

Results: An impact analysis did not demonstrate evidence for direct effects of MCCC’s ReFORM program on the selected outcomes: father’s satisfaction with their parenting role, employment, or being in a relationship six-months after release. Findings of the implementation analysis highlight MCCC’s success in implementing ReFORM services, including an emphasis on program fidelity for these services. 

Conclusion: Although the impact analysis did not offer evidence for the effectiveness of the intervention, MCCC successfully delivered the ReFORM program to a total of 627 fathers who were incarcerated over a 5-year period, 201 of whom agreed to participate in the local evaluation. Fathers were provided with educational information and tools to use to strengthen their positive engagement with their children, enhance their employment and economic mobility, and improve the health of their relationships and marriage. In the future, MCCC may consider a more rigorous evaluation design (for example, a larger, randomized controlled trial) or selecting additional outcome measures that may be more sensitive to potential program effects.

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