MDRC Awarded Project on Using Learning Cycles to Strengthen the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs


With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, MDRC is launching a new project: Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs, or SIRF. MDRC’s partners on the project are MEF Associates and Insight Policy Research.

Responsible Fatherhood programs have a long history of promoting positive father-child interactions, improving parents’ relationships and capacity to parent as a team, and building fathers’ economic stability by helping them boost their skills and navigate the labor market. However, capacity- and evidence-building activities have shown that Responsible Fatherhood programs face challenges recruiting fathers, enrolling them in services, and keeping them actively engaged in services. Evidence is needed to help Responsible Fatherhood programs develop effective strategies to improve their service delivery and, ultimately, to make it easier for potential large-scale studies to determine the effects of the strengthened programs.

MDRC’s Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs will use iterative learning processes, which identify roadblocks to implementation, design and test solutions, interpret findings, and adapt practices. This collaboration between researchers and practitioners allows each program’s learning approach to be tailored to its unique context and service structure. SIRF’s ultimate goal is to produce actionable and generalizable lessons to strengthen this important field.