A Statewide Approach to Improving Father Engagement in Child Welfare
- Connecticut’s Father Engagement Leadership Teams created accountability structures for child welfare staff to engage fathers.
- Efforts to improve father engagement require long-term focus and support.
- Endorsement from organizational leaders can give legitimacy to change efforts.
The Fathers and Continuous Learning in Child Welfare (FCL) project, conducted by Mathematica and the University of Denver, assessed the promise of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) methodology for improving practices in child welfare. From 2019–2021, six sites representing five child welfare agencies participated in a BSC focused on strengthening father and paternal relative engagement. As the FCL BSC drew to a close in early 2021, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) adapted and implemented components of the BSC methodology to improve father and paternal engagement statewide.
This brief describes how the Connecticut DCF launched and sustained a coordinated approach to improve father engagement across the state. The state’s experience offers an encouraging example for other public agencies or organizations looking to improve child welfare practices statewide.