Making Good on Fatherhood: A Review of the Fatherhood Research

Jan 2016 | Cynthia Osborne, Daniel Dillon, Jen Winter Craver, and Isabel Hovey

From CFRP: The Texas Department of Family Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division (DFPS PEI) contracted with the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs to develop a comprehensive approach to supporting Texas fathers. This report takes the first step toward that goal by surveying the state of fatherhood programs, both nationally and throughout the state of Texas. It begins by tracing the history of fatherhood programs over the last several decades, paying special attention to the evolution in focus and funding of these efforts. Next, it examines the evidence base for fatherhood programs, highlighting the extent to which programs have worked to strengthen fathers’ involvement, parenting skills, relationship quality, and economic stability. Child abuse prevention programs are reviewed as well. The report then canvasses a slate of ongoing programs and evaluations currently underway, the majority of which are supported through the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (ACF OPRE). The final section concludes with a look at the importance of program evaluation and measurement as key tools for improving the evidence base for fatherhood programs in this country.

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