In 2020, MDRC and its partners conducted a literature review and held a series of conversations on the subject of engaging fathers in fatherhood programs that included practitioners, fathers, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. This publication collects engagement approaches practitioners and other stakeholders have tried or are considering.
An Introduction to the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) Study
This report summarizes activities in the first two years of the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) study (2019 to 2021). SIRF aims to identify and test approaches to improving programs’ recruitment, engagement, and retention of fathers using rapid learning cycles.
A Review of the Literature
When a parent is jailed or incarcerated, it has direct consequences for children and families. Family-strengthening programs seek to maintain healthy relationships between such parents and their children. They have the potential to reduce the harmful effects of incarceration on families. This brief describes six recommendations for family-strengthening programs.
Findings from the B3 Study of a Cognitive Behavioral Program
This report presents findings from a random assignment evaluation of a program incorporating interactive cognitive-behavioral techniques with job-readiness services for fathers recently involved in the justice system. As implemented in this evaluation, the program did not produce impacts on employment, involvement in the criminal justice system, or parenting.
Video Observations from the Just Beginning Study
The Just Beginning intervention aims to improve the quality of interactions between fathers with low incomes and their young children. Fathers participated in up to five sessions with their young children. This paper uses growth curve models to estimate patterns of change across the five sessions.
Findings from the B3 Study of the Just Beginning Parenting Intervention
The Just Beginning intervention aims to improve the quality of interactions between fathers with low incomes and their young children. As implemented in this evaluation, the intervention did not produce statistically significant effects on measures of father-child relationship quality, on fathers’ parenting confidence, nor on levels of father-child contact.
A Roundup of Findings from the Building Bridges and Bonds Study
The Building Bridges and Bonds (B3) study tested innovative, interactive, skill-building approaches to address parenting and economic stability in the context of existing fatherhood programs. This brief highlights findings from the three tests and summarizes lessons from the B3 study experience common to all the tested interventions.
Findings from the B3 Exploratory Study of the DadTime Intervention
This report describes a randomized field trial of an app designed to be integrated into a fatherhood curriculum. The app offered reminders, planning tools, and encouragement to participants. The study found no evidence that the app improved attendance, either for the first session or overall.
Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and service use but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.
A Review of the Literature
More than 5 million American children under the age of 18, a disproportionate number of whom are Black or Latino, have had a parent incarcerated. This report reviews studies about promising programs that seek to maintain and build healthy relationships between parents who are incarcerated and their children.