Federal Agency Initiatives

Many federal departments have responsible fatherhood initiatives and programs. The Federal Interagency Working Group on Responsible Fatherhood brought together federal agencies to coordinate department efforts that support and encourage responsible fatherhood and father engagement in their children’s lives. This page includes a description of some of the programs and resources available from participating agencies.

Tips & Best Practices

  • The Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families funds organizations across the United States to provide Responsible Fatherhood activities that strengthen positive father-child engagement, improve employment and economic mobility opportunities, and foster responsible parenting and build healthy relationships (including couple and co-parenting) and marriage.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Head Start encourages Head Start providers to engage fathers in their children’s development. These quick strategies can enhance father engagement efforts in early childhood programs.
  • The Reconnecting Homeless Veterans with Their Children initiative of the  Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Health and Human Services, along with the American Bar Association, helps homeless veterans gain permanent housing, assists with child support obligations, and connects them with programs with employment and supportive services.
  • The Department of Labor Transitional Jobs for Non-Custodial Parents grant program supports local efforts to prepare unemployed non-custodial parents for work through transitional employment, while assisting them in gaining long-term unsubsidized employment.
  • The Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education Division of Adult Education and Literacy offers resources on adult literacy programs, which better equip fathers to participate in the education of their children and provide financial security for their children.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance and showcased employer promising practices on the treatment of caregivers that helps address stereotypes that fathers are not equally engaged in care-giving.
  • The Department of Agriculture’s WIC Breastfeeding Support center offers information about breastfeeding and how fathers can support mom and baby.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development encourages public housing authorities to celebrate Father’s Day to connect men and women to resources that will aid in improving these outcomes and unify the family.
  • The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families has several ongoing research projects focused on the implementation and impact of fatherhood programs.
Spotlight On
Child Abuse Services, Treatment, and Life Enrichment (CASTLE)


During a federally funded Responsible Fatherhood project from 2006 to 2011, the Exchange Club Center for Child Abuse Services, Treatment, and Life Enrichment (CASTLE) in St. Lucie County, FL, provided a “harvest” outreach program to fathers upon their release from prison. The program provided vouchers and other services to fill a gap while former inmates waited to receive food assistance or other benefits. The program also included a support group to help children of incarcerated dads deal with separation, divorce, and reunification issues, and a mothers’ support group that met regularly before fathers were released from prison to focus on positive parenting and reunification. Staff stayed in contact with fathers and family members for up to one year after they completed the program. Source: How to Implement Promising Practices: Peer Guidance from the Responsible Fatherhood Program.


Where can I find information about federal grants for fatherhood programs?

  • Grants.gov is where federal agencies to post discretionary funding opportunities and organizations can apply to them.

What is the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network?

  • The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) was created with support from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Planning, Research, Research and Evaluation. Its goals are to:
  • Promote rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs that serve low-income fathers;
  • Expand the number of researchers and practitioners collaborating to evaluate fatherhood programs through in-person and virtual trainings; and
  • Disseminate information, including new evaluation findings, that leads to effective fatherhood practice and evaluation research.

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