Father Engagement in Human Services

Father Engagement in Human Services

Published: Sep 17, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
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Associated Project

KEEP Fathers Engaged

Time frame: 2019 – 2021

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Key Findings
  • At the program level, approaches to promoting father engagement include tailoring recruitment and intake methods to reach fathers, enhancing the service environment to include fathers, and delivering services that resonate with fathers’ goals and support their active participation.
  • At the organization level, staff in leadership positions can promote father engagement by demonstrating their own commitment to father engagement, developing partnerships with other organizations that serve fathers, and incorporating father engagement into staff development and supervision protocols.
  • At the system level, federal, state, local, and tribal government staff, as well as foundations, associations, and other intermediaries, can promote father engagement by identifying and breaking down systemic barriers and ensuring that organizations and programs have resources and authorities necessary for engaging fathers.

Fathers want to and can play an important role in their children’s lives, but too often human services programs have not focused on supporting dads. Strengthening human services programs to better engage fathers can enhance outcomes for fathers, children, and families. Practitioners from across a wide range of program areas can draw upon a common set of approaches that promote and support father engagement and adapt them to facilitate implementation within their programs. This brief identifies approaches that human services programs can and do take to engage fathers in programming. The study is sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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