News from the Fatherhood Research & Practice Network
News from the Fatherhood Research & Practice Network
FRPN Grantee Spotlight

In the December 2014 issue of The Blueprint, we announced the first group of FRPN funded projects. One of these four projects is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the TYRO Dads program. Led by Young-IL Kim, Ph.D., and Baylor University researchers, in collaboration with Ohio's Ridge Project Inc., a family strengthening services program, this study includes 400 low-income fathers drawn from nine cities—Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Findlay, Lima, McClure, Toledo and Wooster—who will attend the 20-hour program over five weeks. Researchers will analyze improvement over time in father-child relationship quality.

As their project begins, Dr. Brenda Oyer, research and data manager for The Ridge Project, and Dr. Kim have offered some insight into the challenges and opportunities associated with this type of evaluation research.

Dr. Oyer

Why is evaluation important for fatherhood programs and, more specifically, The Ridge Project?

Evaluation is critical for helping us improve our program. We want to know if our program isn't as effective as it needs to be, and we want to know its strengths and weaknesses. That way we can make any necessary adjustments.

What do you hope to learn through the FRPN grant?

It is our hope to confirm that TYRO Dads has a statistically significant, positive impact on father-child relationships. We would also like to determine the program "doseage" that has the greatest impact on father-child relationships and if there are demographic variables that influence the effect of the program on participants.

What are the chief challenges of conducting a research project like this?

The chief challenge of doing any evaluation research project is meeting the need for a scientifically rigorous study, as well as finding an adequate sample size within the limitations of real-life practice and the established budget. Some activities are proving to be more time-consuming than we had expected.

Another challenge has been developing a recruitment strategy for the study. Our study involves random assignment to a control or treatment group, with the control group being placed on a waiting list for our program. Many low-income fathers are eager to start our program right away and do not wish to be put on a waiting list.

Dr. Kim

Why is collaborating with a fatherhood program like The Ridge Project exciting for a researcher?

I'm excited to collaborate with The Ridge Project because the organization has a proven history of effective program implementation. It also has an excellent track record of recruitment and retention of a wide demographic of clients, so I am confident that they will be able to recruit our target sample size and retain as many participants as possible until the identified three month follow-up.

What do you hope to learn from the evaluation?

The TYRO Dads program hasn't been evaluated using RCT methods before, so it is uncertain whether the program really makes a difference in the father-child relationship. I hope to learn whether or not the experimental group improves their relationship with their study child three months after they complete the course compared to the control group.

What are the chief challenges of conducting a research project like this?

My job is to execute this study properly. I know that an RCT is considered the gold standard for evaluating intervention effectiveness, but those types of trials are not always executed properly. So minimizing biases that can exaggerate intervention effects will be a challenge.

More information on TYRO Dads and the first group of FRPN funded projects can be found at

FRPN Website Updates

The FRPN website provides a wealth of resources to assist fatherhood practitioners and researchers in evaluating fatherhood programs. This research abstract, published last November by Alan Hawkins, Ph.D., and Sage Erickson, Ph.D., was recently posted on the site:

Is couple and relationship education effective for lower income participants? A meta-analytic study.

Upcoming Events The FRPN plans to have a presence at several fatherhood and family services conferences over the next few months. Rebecca Kaufman, FRPN project coordinator, will present on the FRPN's work to build capacity among fatherhood practitioners and researchers for evaluation research at the following conferences:

16th Annual New England Fathering Conference — March 18—20, 2015

42nd Annual Head Start Conference and Expo — March 30—April 2, 2015

FRPN and National Partnership for Community Leadership to Host One-Day Workshop In partnership with the National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL), the FRPN will host a one-day workshop in advance of NPCL's 17th Annual International Fatherhood Conference on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. This workshop will take place at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The FRPN workshop will focus on the benefits of evaluation research for fatherhood programs, how to begin research projects and how to apply for research funding. Attendees will participate in interactive sessions with several teams of fatherhood practitioners and researchers highlighting logic models, components of a successful grant proposal and measuring key program outcomes such as father involvement and co-parenting, as well as key data collection strategies.

A certificate in fatherhood program and evaluation from the School of Social Work at Temple University will be offered to all workshop attendees.

Click here to register for the workshop and learn more about NPCL's conference.

Contact Us to Learn More
FRPN Co-Director Jay Fagan, PhD | Professor, Temple University School of Social Work

FRPN Co-Director Jessica Pearson, PhD | Director, Center for Policy Research

FRPN Coordinator Rebecca Kaufman, MSW | Temple University

© 2014 Fatherhood Research & Practice Network. All rights reserved
The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network is supported by grant #90PR0006 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, Temple University and the Center for Policy Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.