Ed. Note: This is a repost from the ACF Family Room Blog (June 19, 2015). View the original post.
Fourteen months ago, I became a father for the first time, and every day I relish how my daughter’s smile warms my heart and keeps me going.
The new addition to my family also helped me personally discover that fatherhood can be a catalyst for change. Children can inspire dads and give them new purpose — my daughter certainly inspires me to be a better person. Across the country, numerous programs serve fathers, many of whom face enormous challenges. As a part of my work, I am involved in the Parents and Children Together Evaluation, an effort to document the real-life stories of dads served by some of these programs, and identify new, innovative, and effective ways to serve them.
One study from that project is helping responsible fatherhood program grantees in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul share how they work with fathers and learn how their services affect men’s lives. A recent report describes the reasons why fathers attend their local program and their perceptions of their roles as parents, partners, and providers.
Another study highlights how programs serving incarcerated fathers are overcoming challenges. A third study, called Building Bridges & Bonds, is, studying how best to draw men to programs, keep them involved, and help them help themselves. We also sponsor a project that supports responsible fatherhood programs as they undertake research, and the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network that connects programs and researchers with up-to-date information.
Some of our other projects working with dads include:
- A study of the next generation of subsidized and transitional employment approaches for noncustodial parents
- Using insights from behavioral economics to assist incarcerated dads with applying for modifications to their child support orders
- Interviewing mothers, fathers, and home visitors to learn how to better engage and serve fathers in home visiting programs
I’m proud to be a part of projects that partner with programs to provide the best services to dads.
Working for fathers and the programs that serve them is a great way to celebrate Father’s Day!
Seth Chamberlain, Senior Social Science Research Analyst, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation