Local Evaluation Highlights from the 2015 Cohort of Responsible Fatherhood Grantees

Local Evaluation Highlights from the 2015 Cohort of Responsible Fatherhood Grantees

OPRE Report 2022-248
Published: Oct 31, 2022
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Key Findings
  • Although the evaluations could not definitively determine whether a strategy improved client attendance at services, they identified several lessons learned such as:
    • Fathers who were referred to the program by their friends and family were more likely to attend workshop sessions than fathers who attended orientation events.
    • The program received more referrals when partners better understood its value. But it took considerable staff time to explain the program and its benefits to partner staff.
    • A book-based, academic approach to workshops might be uncomfortable for fathers with lower education levels, and may result in their lower attendance at program services.
    • Program completion rates were high for an intensive program for re-entering fathers that met five hours daily for four weeks. Nearly 80 percent of fathers or father figures who had been released from jail or prison in the past six months and enrolled in the program completed it. Strong bonds developed among workshop participants and program staff after this intense period together.
  • The impact evaluations found some favorable results and some areas in which the programs did not achieve their goals. Favorable effects were common though not universal for economic stability outcomes. For other domains, such as coparenting, relationship skills, parenting skills and behaviors, and child and father well-being, findings with no effects were more common than favorable outcomes.

Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grantees seek to help fathers be the parent, provider, and partner they want to be. Evaluations can help grantees improve services and better support families by examining what is working well and what is not. In the 2015 RF grantee cohort funded by the Office of Family Assistance in the Administration for Children and Families, 40 RF grantees served fathers or couples in the community or fathers reentering the community after incarceration. Fifteen of those grantees conducted local evaluations. In a local evaluation, a grantee works with an independent evaluator to design and execute a study to address questions of interest about the grantee’s programs and clients. Even though the questions were about each grantee’s particular program, the results from the evaluations can be helpful to other organizations that currently or plan to serve similar populations or provide similar services. This brief highlights selected results from the local evaluations of RF grantees.

This brief was developed as part of the Building Usage, Improvement, and Learning with Data in Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (BUILD HMRF) Programs project, led by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in collaboration with OFA. ACF has contracted with Mathematica to conduct the BUILD HMRF project.

Although the local impact and descriptive evaluations discussed in this brief were not representative of the full 2015 cohort of RF grantees or RF programs in general, they provide useful information for RF programs as they seek to engage participants in services and support healthy families. By summarizing key results, the brief makes the findings easily accessible to current grantees and other interested readers.

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