Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage: What's the Connection?

Year Published
Author (Individual)
Noll, Leif.
Harrison, Courtney.
Patterson, Patrick.
Derrington, Rachel.
Author (Organization)
National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.
Resource Type
Fact Sheet
Resource Format
Resource Language
Marriage and relationship education (MRE) andresponsible fatherhood (RF) programs share the goalof improving the lives of children by strengtheningthe interpersonal skills of their parents. The origins of these program areas are distinct: MRE beganprimarily as a way to prepare couples for marriagewhereas RF was originally designed to prepareunmarried fathers to reconnect with their childrenand families. However, a common purpose has emerged between the two fields. According to the U.S. Census, more than 2.5 million children areraised in families without their biological father. This statistic confirms the need for fatherhood-specificand relationship education programs. Such programshelp families communicate effectively and understand the importance of father involvement and healthyco-parental relationships, regardless of relationshipstatus. Responsible fatherhood and MRE programsboth address the diverse needs of fathers and theirfamilies in effort to improve child well-being. Recent research indicates that these programs, whenworking collaboratively, can have a positive impact on fathers, children, and their families. This Tip Sheet highlights the commonalities and strengths of each program area and suggests strategies for practitioners interested in bridging the two fields. (Author abstract)

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