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The Father Factor


Erik Vecere

Erik Vecere is Vice President of Program Support at National Fatherhood Initiative.

Recent Posts

4 Keys to Creating an Actionable Father Engagement Plan

One of the biggest challenges I hear from service providers is how to create an actionable father engagement plan.

There are 4 keys to creating an effective and actionable plan:

Why Evidence-Based Fatherhood Programs are Important for Dads

Depending on where you look, the term “evidence-based” can have slightly different meanings. Generally speaking, however, it refers to a program that has been found by independent research to affect a change in program participants compared to similar individuals who did not participate in the program.

Researchers refer to program participants as the “intervention group” while referring to non-participants as the “control group.” A program becomes evidence-based when this rigorous approach to evaluating it has shown the change is not likely due to chance but to the impact of the program.

Learn this Powerful Approach to Effective Facilitation

I facilitated a 24/7 Dad® training for the Family Resource Center South Atlantic (FRCSA) last January in Raleigh, NC. When I returned a month later to deliver a second training on our InsideOut Dad® program, I was amazed at how proficient they had become facilitating 24/7 Dad® in only a few weeks! 

5 Myths Dads Have About Fatherhood Programs

Facilitators across the country have shared with me consistent challenges they’ve faced with dads’ attitudes about fatherhood programs. I’ve categorized these challenges into 5 myths that can help you more effectively recruit and retain dads in your programs.

The Buzz Around the Father Engagement Certificate™

National Fatherhood Initiative’s® (NFI’s) new on demand Father Engagement Certificate™ (FEC) training has created quite a buzz. More than 100 individuals across the country who work with fathers in all kinds of settings have registered to get their certificate – many of them already have it. 

How to Shift the Mindset of Incarcerated Fathers

I knew there was something special about the Noble Correctional Institution (Caldwell, Ohio) the moment that I walked through the door. I was greeted immediately by Burl Lemon, President of Forever Dads, who oversees the InsideOut Dad® program at the facility. Mr. Lemon shared how men are not just going to do their time, they are also going to shift their mindset, and fatherhood is the key to accomplishing that goal.

Don't Waste the Single Most Important Tool in Your Fatherhood Program

Some fatherhood program facilitators aren’t utilizing the single most important tool in their fatherhood program toolbox. Is it you? Maybe it's because you are either unaware of or choose not to use it, but our 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad® Facilitator’s Manual is seriously the single most important tool in your fatherhood program toolbox.  

I talk to fatherhood leaders every single day and I often hear this problem. Recently, I talked to a facilitator who was using only the Fathering Handbook to run his fatherhood program. Basically, this is like riding a bike without one of the wheels. It doesn't make sense. Let me explain why.

The Critical Role a Nonprofit Business Model Plays in Guiding Your Fatherhood Program

I receive many phone calls and emails from people looking to either partner, provide a service, solve a problem, or address a father-related crisis. These people can range from state-level administrators, to social service agency directors, to program facilitators, to a struggling father. The challenge that I face on any given day is the same that we all face: how do I prioritize the requests and opportunities and make decisions that will most effectively accomplish the mission of my organization?

Don’t Leap Before You Look: Properly Preparing to Work with Fathers

I love to see the excitement in participants’ eyes when they complete our Father-Friendly Check-Up™ workshop and realize how many low or no-cost action steps they can take to increase their father-readiness.

6 Ways to Involve Moms in Involving Dads

As responsible fatherhood programs continue to increase dads’ motivation to be more involved, responsible, and committed in their child’s life, one challenge has become even more apparent – how do we help custodial moms support the dad’s involvement?

Certainly, there is no easy answer to this challenge especially in situations where the relationship between the mom and dad has negative emotional energy surrounding it.

Sexy Sustainability: The Missing Element in Effective Father Engagement

Sustainability planning and execution of that plan is the most important investment for any social service agency or non-profit organization looking to effectively engage fathers, mothers, and the community around responsible fatherhood. Planning is not as “sexy” as starting up a new program for dads, but it is the groundwork that makes the sexy programming possible...and sustainable.

All too often I’ve seen the disruption (or elimination) of fatherhood services in communities because the larger agencies where the fatherhood services were offered didn’t weave this work into the fabric of their organizational culture.  I’ve seen grant writers miss opportunities to write fatherhood resources into proposals that focus on broader issues, but clearly have a father factor involved.  I’ve seen executive staff give up trying to hire male staff prematurely.  There have been missed opportunities because staff have not formally mapped community assets or looked seriously at the father-friendliness of the agency’s physical environment.

Creating Change in Your Organization or Community

4 Factors for Successful Father Involvement

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