Supporting Father Involvement
Being a dad is one of the most important jobs a man can have. A loving and nurturing father improves outcomes for children, families and communities. Recent research results show that fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children. Other results show that children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.
Providing services to fathers is crucial, but does not have to mean starting a new project to serve men. Many fatherhood initiatives are part of larger organizations and include family services, job training and social services. Others are small organizations focused only on fatherhood. Regardless of a program’s scope, any fatherhood effort can succeed when certain strategies are used effectively.
A fatherhood program can have many priorities:
- Helping dads learn about positive parenting
- Counseling men in their relationships with their children and their children’s mother
- Supporting men to become more self-sufficient in supporting their families
Supporting Father Involvement (SFI), an evidence-based research intervention, was funded by the California Department of Social Services’ Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) from 2002 until 2012. The Study was employed to: (1) determine the effectiveness of increasing positive father involvement within their families, (2) reduce child abuse and neglect, and (3) measure organizational culture change to determine if the family resource center implementing the intervention had an increase in father participation in their other programs and services. For more information view the study by Pruett, Cowan, et al .
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To encourage the replication of SFI within community based organizations throughout the state, CDSS/OCAP has funded Strategies, a three agency collaborative, to provide informational sessions, training and technical assistance.
Information regarding the SFI dissemination to county child welfare agencies can be found in the CDSS All County Information Notice ACIN I-05-11 January 11, 2011 .