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

In this issue of The Blueprint, we continue to obtain insight into the challenges and opportunities associated with fatherhood program evaluation.

One of the four currently funded FRPN projects is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Dads Matter. Conducted by University of Denver's Jennifer Bellamy, Ph.D., in collaboration with Metropolitan Family Services and four other Chicago–based programs, the study includes a group of 200 fathers and 200 mothers participating in the program, which functions as a home visiting service enhancement. The study will examine how certain factors may boost or dampen efforts to better serve fathers in home visiting programs such as employees' attitudes about working with fathers, and the attitudes of mothers and fathers about fathers' participation in home visiting.

Below, Dr. Bellamy and Eren Morales, LCSW, project coordinator for Metropolitan Family Services, provide their perspective on evaluation research and the goals of the FRPN grant.

Dr. Bellamy

Why is it important to study fatherhood in home visiting programs? What is the main question you want to answer in your evaluation?

Providing services to fathers in their homes can help address common challenges in the responsible fatherhood field, including recruitment and retention. The services go to the fathers, rather than the other way around.

Home visiting supports a personal and family–focused approach. Workers get to know fathers' homes and neighborhoods, their partners' and other family members early on and over an extended period of time. Home visiting is generally designed to serve families for three to five years starting in infancy or prenatally. There is a lot of potential to support families as they are forming and as father involvement is at its peak.

Through this project, we aim to answer questions like, "Does Dads Matter work by improving the father-home visitor relationship or increasing workers' skill and comfort in working with fathers, or both?" and "Does Dads Matter work well across diverse family structures and home visiting programs?"

We are also learning a lot about how this intervention might be scaled up for broader dissemination including the key training and supervision supports needed to implement it in a variety of home visiting models.

Eren Morales

Why is evaluation important for fatherhood programs? What do you hope to learn and what are the chief challenges of doing a research project?

This evaluation presents Metropolitan Family Services with an opportunity to better understand if the services we offer have an actual impact on how fathers relate to their children. It will also help us determine if we should enhance our services to promote fathers establishing more positive relationships with their children.

For reporting and funding purposes, this project will help us confirm that we are following best-practice models. We are excited to contribute to the national interest taking place on intentional fatherhood engagement.

As the agency coordinator of the FRPN project, a chief challenge has been generating and sustaining interest from our direct staff on the benefits of participating in the study when it may seem like more work for them. Furthermore, because we have staff and families involved in both the control group and intervention side of the study, we are mindful of how we discuss the project so that we do not taint the research.

Learn more about Dads Matter and the other FRPN funded projects here.

FRPN Publishes New Research Brief

Newly posted on the FRPN website is a research brief authored by Jay Fagan, Ph.D., and Rebecca Kaufman, MSW. Self–reported personal challenges of fathers in responsible fatherhood programs is a study of the challenges reported by 71 fathers participating in nine fatherhood programs located in five northeastern U.S. cities. These challenges are often substantial and may be strongly associated with lower levels of father involvement with children and lower quality coparenting with mothers.

Read the full research brief here.

Upcoming Events

The FRPN plans to have a presence at several fatherhood and family services conferences over the next few months. Jay Fagan and Jessica Pearson, Ph.D., FRPN co–directors, as well as 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:

42nd Annual Head Start Conference and Expo – March 29—April 2, 2015, Washington, D.C.

Fifth National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs – May 7—8, 2015, Washington, D.C.

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 52nd Annual Conference – Workshop #47: Approaches to Parenting Time and Coparenting for Unmarried Parents, May 29, 2015, New Orleans.

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 from 9:00 a.m. to 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 coparenting, 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.