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The Father Factor


Ryan Sanders

Ryan is Director of Marketing and Communications at National Fatherhood Initiative. He is married with two young daughters and lives in Northern Virginia.
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Spotlight > Richmond Jail Gives Dads 3 Hours and Hope (Video)

Three hours. Imagine being locked up for a year or more and then getting to spend three hours with your daughter. You get to put on a suit and connect with her. What would you tell her? What happens when the three hours ends and you have to replace the suit with your prison clothes?

I dare you to watch the entire video from "This is Life" by Lisa Ling (CNN) and not cry. I dare you to watch and not see how connecting fathers to their families can inspire dads to stay out of prison once released. 

richmond city jail fatherhood program

Between the father absence crisis in America and Fathers Behind Bars, we have the statistics. Stats are important for helping us understand the problem. But, what we're often missing is the real-life stories behind the statistics.

Richmond City Jail is a great story of hope in an often hopeless world. They are innovative in connecting fathers and families. They have used our InsideOut Dad® program, the 12-week evidence-based course built to improve relationships between incarcerated fathers and their families.

Richmond City Jail inmates, who were recently featured on CNN, are receiving the real-life skills they need to become better husbands and fathers.

The dads in this jail are being taught the things their fathers never taught them. Those of us blessed to grow up with good dads still make our mistakes. But imagine not having a father to teach you life skills. Watch Terrence Williams tell his story. His dad left early on in his life. Terrence has been in and out of jail over a dozen times related to drug charges. Watch the video below. You will see Terrence, who has 5 kids, learn not only how important it is to be a good father—but how to be one a good father.

“When I didn’t have no money...I didn’t come around because I didn’t feel like I could be a father,” he says in the video. “And being in this program taught me that what I thought was being a father wasn’t being a father at all. Being a father is spending time with your children.”

This is a great lesson for every dad—whether you're behind bars or behind an office desk. 

“The main goal (of a fatherhood program) is to prepare them for re-entry so that they don’t come back,” says Sarah Scarbrough, the internal program director at the jail, the fatherhood program is a major part of that.

“Unfortunately, Richmond has such an extremely high rate of premarital births and fatherless homes,” Scarbrough explains on the video. “Boys who grow up without their dads are 87% more likely to be incarcerated than those with fathers in their homes.”

The CNN special focuses a lot on the father-daughter dance hosted by the jail. This event gives the incarcerated fathers and their daughters a chance to dress up and connect...if only for three hours.

Take time to watch the video below and you'll see several dads say things like:

“When I hugged my daughter and she embraced me and then she cried, that kind of let me know the pain and what she was going through out there, without her father.” —Terrence Williams

“They taught me how to express myself to my children, they taught me how to understand my children, how to deal with them.” —Aziz Scott, a former inmate

“That’s what motivates me and inspires me to get out and do the right thing.” —Williams says about the event and connecting with his kids.

We are inspired by the impact Richmond City Jail is having on connecting fathers to families. Thank you, CNN and Lisa Ling, for shining the spotlight on a worthy story. Thank you Angela Patton and your group, the Richmond City Justice Center, the Virginia Department of Health, the National Partnership for Community Leadership, and the Richmond Family and Fatherhood Initiative involved in working to connect fathers to families and give hope to Richmond. We look forward to hearing more stories like this.

Watch the full episode of Fatherless Towns here


We've written previously about Richmond City Jail. Here are a few posts:

iod_fhb_cvrWhether you work in corrections or are interested in volunteering to teach dads, download our free sample of InsideOut Dad®

InsideOut Dad® is the nation's only evidence-based fatherhood program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers. You can find folks who care about fathers and are using our resources in your area by visiting here.

The Father Factor Blog

Father Facts 7 Gets an Insightful Review

You already know we think highly of our new resource, Father Facts 7. But, do you know how useful others in the research and family services industries, are finding this great resource? Here's what one group says about our new resource. Use their insightful review to inspire you with new ways to use the research.

Father Facts 7

Comfort Consults, LLC, which focuses on parenting assessment, staff training and program evaluation for family service programs in health, education and social services, has some great feedback on the usefulness of Father Facts 7 (FF7) for children and families.

Here are a few ideas of note from Comfort Consults' post, you can read their full post here

Comfort Consults points out that FF7 is especially helpful for those writing funding proposals to support fathers or co-parenting services and that the newly released collection of statistics and research summaries provides a goldmine for making your case to funders. We couldn't have said it better ourselves! 

Comfort Consults also points out two main categories of interest for their readers regarding FF7 that we think may be useful for you...

Current Data and Research on Fathers

In addition to the helpful summaries in each section of FF7. Comfort Consults reminds readers there are several chapters which share data and research on targeted groups, such as

  • teen fathers,
  • incarcerated fathers,
  • military fathers,
  • millennials
  • grandfathers raising children 

The chapter titled Issues Related to Father Absence may be of special interest to those working with families to resolve issues of child custody, child support and supervised visitation. 

Father Research Shows Benefits for Children, Mothers and Fathers

Here are a few highlights from the abstracted studies of FF7 that Comfort Consults finds helpful:

  • Whether or not fathers are living in the household, if they are involved positively in their children’s lives, research shows the favorable associations with children’s social, emotional and behavioral well-being, school readiness and academic achievement (Father Facts 7, Pages 62-65). 
  • Research also indicates that fatherhood is related to men’s well-being in terms of more stable employment, stronger ties with extended family and community organizations, and in some studies, fewer mental health disorders (Father Facts 7, Pages 65-67). 
  • When fathers are involved with their children, research studies demonstrate associations with mothers’ healthier pregnancies, fewer symptoms of depression and stress, and more leisure time. In a study of divorced couples, remarriage was more likely when nonresident fathers had more frequent contact with their children (Father Facts 7, Pages 67-68).

Comfort Consults says

Father Facts 7 is a treasure trove for all who want to better understand the issues, attitudes and parenting of today’s fathers.  Actually, with solid background information on today’s fathers, all of us can better understand the array of contexts that families experience, which will help us meet each family – including father, mother and child -- where they are.  With this understanding, we can help them move forward, at their own pace, on a path toward a nurturing family life...

Father Facts 7 gives us a current and rich perspective on the wide range of circumstances, benefits and challenges experienced by fathers. Father Facts 7 also suggests the great value of working with fathers to benefit their children and both parents. 

Thank you, Comfort Consults, for caring about fathers...and connecting them to their families. To learn more about father absence and to access the research and data, purchase and download Father Facts 7 today

Father Facts 7

7 Facts from Father Facts 7 [Free Resources]

Father Facts 7 (FF7) has been and continues to be the go-to resource for anyone interested in promoting responsible fatherhood. Please review these vital statistics on father absence and consider sharing them. 

Sharing these eye-opening statistics can help others see the importance of an involved dad in the life of his children and family. Vist here for more shareable stats. 

There is a Father Factor in America's Worst Social Problems...

Just the Facts > The State-Level Data on Father Absence...

Do you know the rate of father absence in your state? State data on father absence is one of the new sections in National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts 7

Just the Facts > Single-Father Households...

Just the Facts > Stay-at-Home Dads...

Just the Facts > Father Factor in Teen Pregnancy and Sexual Activity...

Just the Facts > Father Factor in Incarceration...

Just the Facts > Father Factor in Poverty...

To get these stats and more, please visit our Father Facts 7 Shareable Stats Page

The Father Factor Blog

Spotlight > Maury County Jail Helps Incarcerated Fathers

650,000+ ex-offenders are released from prison every year. Most prisoners are fathers. Why not prepare these fathers for release while in prison?

Imagine sitting behind bars—learning nothing and bored—wishing time away. Now, imagine the opposite. Imagine attending a class that addresses the skills you need—preparing you for your eventual release. This post is about a program that's giving hope and purpose to fathers in jail. Maury County Jail gets it. This is their story...

Between the father absence crisis in America and Fathers Behind Bars, we must do better at educating fathers and connecting them to their families. If we can give these men the skills they need to connect with their family—we can change everything.

Writing for The Daily Herald, Mike Christen reveals how the Maury County Jail is helping incarcerated fathers deal with the struggles of fatherhood. 

Maury County Jail uses our InsideOut Dad® program, the 12-week evidence-based course designed to improve the relationships between incarcerated fathers and their families though an examination of family history, parenting skills and communication.

“There is a trust there,” says instructor Brian Loging, speaking of the program sessions from jail. He describes the sessions as "a safe place where inmates can share their true thoughts and emotions compared to the rough and sometimes dangerous environment of the Maury County Jail."

The inmates learn from their Fathering Handbooks how to show and handle their feelings, their children’s growth, how to handle stress, co-parenting tips,  and how to be a dad—even from behind bars.

Loging has led 100 inmates through the InsideOut Dad® program from Maury County Jail.

He teaches the course with his own motto:

“Good choices make good men and you have to be a good man to make a good father,” Loging says. He repeats this line to the the inmates during every session.

The program is well-received. It has a year-long wait list. Inmates recommend it to other inmates, Loging says. “The whole atmosphere has changed,” says Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, regarding the jail.

“This is just one of the ways we are trying to counter crime and repeat offenders, to break that cycle,” Rowland says of the InsideOut Dad® program.

Centerstone, the organization that works with Maury County Jail, also works with inmates on reentry issues—getting inmates ready for life outside of jail. Centerstone works with the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance on finding employment for inmates before their release along with finding suitable housing, reports Christen.

“We are helping them think dutifully about when they get out, where they are going to go and what they are going to do to help them stay out,” Loging says.

Christen reports, the first inmate to have completed the course will be released on parole this coming November. 

“If we can get them stable and get them back into a rhythm of good choices and a good life, being part of a good family, then we are able to pull them in and say ‘now you see what good choices can do and how easy it is to become a better father,’” Loging said.

Centerstone plans to expand the program by bringing in community leaders and successful graduates of the course to lead classes, Scott says.

We couldn't be more excited about the impact Maury County Jail is having on connecting fathers to families. Thank you, Centerstone. We look forward to hearing the stories of InsideOut Dad® alumni coming back to teach sessions and change more lives.

Please read the full story here



Whether you work in corrections or are interested in volunteeting to teach dads, download the free sample > InsideOut Dad®

InsideOut Dad® is the nation's only evidence-based fatherhood program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers. Please consider volunteering to help connect father to family.

The Father Factor Blog

Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) congratulates the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative (MFI) for 10 years of enriching fathers and families.

According to MFI, the initiative “has reduced over $10 million in child support interest debt to help fathers better meet the financial needs of their children. Through MFI’s driver’s license program, thousands of fathers have restored their driving privileges and improved their employability.” 

NFI is proud to have played a major role in helping to launch the initiative. MFI credits NFI’s Community Mobilization Approach™ (CMA) as the framework that helped get their initiative off the ground. You can download a free guide on the CMA and contact Erik Vecere, NFI’s Vice President, Program Support at or 240-912-1278 for additional questions.

The Father Factor Blog

How to Raise a Human or a Vampire

I enjoyed the first Hotel Transylvania movie as much as my daughters. The monsters crack me up. They're back with a second round of monster fun in Hotel Transylvania 2. In screening this film, I laughed out loud at the comedy between parents and grandparents. Watching this movie reminded me of two areas I want my daughters to know are important as little humans.

hotel transylvania 2

We talk a lot at NFI about the vital role a dad plays in his child's life. We know the Father Absence Crisis in America is real because we see its affect every day. We see the challenges a child faces growing up in a father-absent home—from education and health, to crime and incarceration.

It's important to know the research on father absence. Equally as important is the example we set as involved, responsible, and committed dads. 

In Hotel Transylvania 2 (HT2), we don't see an absent father, thankfully. We see Drac, a caring, present father (voiced by Adam Sandler) and the relationship with his daughter, Mavis. Yes, Drac is protective. But, as dads, we just call being protective love! 

In HT2, Drac’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed. He has opened his doors to human guests. But, Drac is worried that his half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. 

So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with her human husband, Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg), Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. Drac has five days to "scare the fangs" out of Dennis to prove he's a vampire. 

hotel transylvania 2

Watching Drac try several things to "scare the fangs" out of Dennis made me think about what I want my daughters to know in order to be grow into adults. My oldest daughter recently reminded me she will be 18 and her sister will be 16 in ten years. Can you say scary?

With this in mind, I feel a renewed sense of urgency to teach my girls what's really important. These things are my idea of "scaring the fangs" out of them. Work with me here.  I want my daughters to see me set an example, showing them that education and health are a priority.

The Importance of Education

I want my girls to know, and see by example, that education is important. What does this look like? My daughter is in elementary school and her teacher has told her to read 20 minutes per day. At home, I need to this by reading books and being a person who cares about learning.

Whether it's teaching your little vampire to fly, as in the case of Drac, or instilling the importance of education into your little one. We know from experience and the research tells us, without an involved dad, a child is two times more likely to drop out of high school. Education is important. Hopefully, my daughters see this in the home. At NFI, we think one of dad's chief roles is to teach. This assumes you will constantly be learning about how to parent better, how to communicate well, care for yourself, and learning relationship skills. Doing these things will set the example for your child and set them up for success.

The Importance of Health

Health can mean mental and physical here. If you have a problem with your mental health, it will show up in your body. Likewise, if you have a problem with the health of your body, it will affect your mind and how you see the world. Research tells us that fathers and their example of health is vital to the health of their child. The child of a dad who is obese is two times more likely to suffer obesity.

Think about that. If you, dad, are obese, your child probably will be. The opposite must be true. If you are fit, your child is more likely to be fit. I can't think of a better reason to be on guard with my health and fitness. My kids are watching me. Your kids are watching you.

There's a funny scene in HT2 where Dennis' mom, Mavis, packed him an avocado to eat. An avocado as snack doesn't seem to register to Drac just like it may not with your own parents. This scene reminded me how far we've come in terms of diet from our parents' and grandparents' generation to today.

Without getting mired in the whole diet debate, consider the following baseline questions related to health so as to keep yourself in check and set the proper example for your child:

  • Do you workout at least weekly? Do you have an "active" lifestyle?
  • How are your eating habits?
  • How much sleep did you get last night? Is that typical? Is it enough sleep?
  • Would your child describe you as "happy"? Your answer is telling either way!
  • What does your house look like? Full of clutter or nice and neat?
  • Do you leave work at work?
  • Do you volunteer on some level to help others? How often?
  • Do you have a hobby? When's the last time you enjoyed your hobby?

These are just a few questions we ask dads in our programs. Answering them will give you personal insight into your level of stress and reveal your overall health. I want my daughters to understand the importance of health. They are more likely to do this if their dad is leading by example.

So, whether you're raising a human or a vampire, if they live with the example that education and health are important and have an involved, responsible and committed dad in these areas, they will likely succeed—or at the least—not turn into monsters.  

Click here to get the Sneak Peek of Hotel Transylvania 2. In theaters September 25th. Follow Hotel Transylvania 2 online, on facebook and on twitter.

Hotel Transylvania 2 has been rated PG by the MPAA for the following reasons: some scary images, action, and rude humor. It's in theaters September 25th.

The Father Factor Blog

Spotlight > Fighting for Fathers in Mobile, Alabama (Video)

Fighting crime and the high incarceration rates takes leaders who are willing to fight for fathers. In Mobile, Alabama, they have the answer to crime and incarceration...teach dads how to be better dads. In this post, watch how several inmate fathers in Mobile County Health Department's Fatherhood Initiative Program are learning how to connect to their families.

The father absence crisis in America is real. The crisis of Fathers Behind Bars is real too. The stats for fathers behind bars are:

  • 2.7 million children have a parent in prison or jail.
  • Ninety-two percent (92%) of parents in prison are fathers. 
  • 650,000+ ex-offenders are released from prison every year.
  • Two-thirds of ex-offenders, or 429,000, will likely re-offend within three (3) years.

Christopher Sasser (seen in the video below) is one of several inmates taking part in Mobile County Health Department's Fatherhood Initiative Program. It's the first time our InsideOut Dad® Program has been used in the metro jail. 

mobile county metro jail

"I didn't have a father. I met my father and three days later he died," says Sasser. 

InsideOut Dad® is designed to break the cycle and put the father back in a child's life.

Can't view the video? Watch here.

"It's more likely if the father is missing that child is going to be incarcerated, have problems in school...this (InsideOut Dad®) is all about rehabilitation and helping someone get back on point." —Harold Jones, Outreach Educator

Please watch the video and consider how you can help fathers connect to their family today.



Whether you work in corrections or are interested in volunteeting to teach dads, download the free sample > InsideOut Dad®

InsideOut Dad® is the nation's only evidence-based fatherhood program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers. Please consider volunteering to help connect father to family.

The Father Factor Blog

Free Webinar > Cutting Edge Tips on Running an Exceptional Fatherhood Program

We have awesome news. We have a great opportunity for you to get technical assistance—for free! Learn the newest tips for starting and running an exceptional fatherhood program.


Here are the details:

Who > Join NFI President Christopher A. Brown as he shares how to apply the latest behavioral science research in practical ways to help you design, market, and implement an exceptional fatherhood program.

What > Free Webinar on "Cutting Edge Tips for Running an Exceptional Fatherhood Program"

Date > September 17th, 2015

Time > 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT

Where & How > It's online and it's free! 


In this free webinar, you will learn the following >

Chris will cover six distinct areas of research and what those areas of research say about human behavior.

Chris will share

  • practical tips on how you can apply the knowledge you will gain to program design (e.g. how to structure a fatherhood program);
  • recruiting fathers into programs and retaining their participation; and
  • becoming a more effective practitioner regardless of whether you work one-on-one with fathers (e.g. as a case manager) or with groups of fathers (e.g. as a facilitator of a fatherhood program). 

Click here to register for this free webinar.

The Father Factor Blog

Faith-Based Fatherhood Spotlight > Pastor and His Dad Serve Fathers in Kentucky Jail

David Kibler is senior pastor at Catalyst Christian Church. He has found a way to combine two of his passions—parenting and ministry. He created fatherhood classes at the Jessamine County Detention Center and is helping connect fathers to families—even when the fathers are behind bars.

55ddcf6541b67.imageWriting for The Jessamine Journal, Amelia Orwick brought Pastor Kibler's great work to our attention. In her column, she discusses how InsideOut Dad®, our curriculum that works to bridge the gap between incarcerated fathers and their children, is helping connect incarcerated fathers to their families. The following post comes mostly from Amelia's article. We recommend you read her full article here

“If we’re not going to carry the gospel to dark places then what are we doing?” Kibler asked. “One of the darkest places in Jessamine County is the jail.”

In June, Kibler and his own father wrapped up their first session in Jessamine County, after getting their start at the Fayette County Detention Center through the Lexington Leadership Foundation in 2013. They are the first father-son teaching duo in the area, Kibler said.

What's a typical class look like? 10 inmates usually attend one class per week for a 12-week period. In Jessamine County, however, inmates attended two classes per week for six weeks.

“They all love their kids,” Kibler said. “They just don’t know how to be dads.”

A father of four, Kibler has no problem teaching the men about character building, discipline, co-parenting and childhood development.

“Most of these guys don’t have dads,” Kibler said. “To see a grown man and his grown father working together, it’s been a really neat example for them.”

“Most of these guys don’t have dads." —Pastor Kibler

Kibler, who has taught almost 10 sessions alongside his father, also enjoys the familial experience, he said.

“It’s really cool when your dad jumps in on something you’re passionate about,” Kibler said. “ ... We just have a great time.”

By improving relationships, InsideOut Dad® lowers recidivism rates at the detention centers where it is in place. On average, about 70 percent of addicts return to jail. But for men who have completed the program, that number is only 35 percent, Kibler said.

“It’s effective, it’s proven and it’s faith based,” Kibler said. “It’s a fantastic program.”

Implementing the program was the beginning of a push for more rehabilitative programs at the detention center, said Jon Sallee, Jessamine County jailer.

“I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg of what we’re going to be able to do at the jail,” Sallee said.

The feedback from inmates who participated in the first session was overwhelmingly positive, he added.

“They all really enjoyed the program and learned a lot. Hopefully they’ll use those tools when they get out,” Sallee said. “ ... They can come out and be with their families, be more productive, be more understanding.”

Kibler remains in touch with many who have completed the program via Facebook, he said. Others have joined Catalyst Christian Church and given their testimony.

“(Catalyst) celebrates the prison mission,” Kibler said. “ ... The support I get from my church is amazing.”

Kibler said he also makes himself an “ongoing resource” by offering free marriage counseling and wedding services to the men who go on to marry the mothers of their children.

“I really like these guys. They’re my friends,” Kibler said. “We spend a lot of time together.”

The program is offered to inmates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Kibler has grown as a minister and a father since becoming involved with InsideOut Dad, he said.

“My favorite time of the week is 10:30 on Sunday morning at Catalyst,” Kibler said. “My second favorite time is 9 o’clock on Tuesday mornings at the (detention center).”

Nice work Pastor Kibler, Catalyst Church, and the jail in Kentucky! Keep up the great work of serving fathers and families in your community!


This post spotlights our InsideOut Dad Christian™ resource. Whether you work in corrections, are faith-based, or simply want to volunteer leading dads in your community, learn more and download free samples of our popular InsideOut Dad® Programs here


The Father Factor Blog

Spotlight > Washington State Dept of Corrections Teaches Fathers from Prison [Video]

I often complain about all that's broken with America's "corrections" system. But, after seeing this video, I know one correctional officer living up to the title. Imagine a uniformed correctional officer getting off work, changing into his normal street clothes, and then volunteering to teach dads how to be better dads from prison. That's who you will meet in this post. Read and watch how Washington State Department of Corrections is connecting father to family.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-24_at_3.32.58_PMYou know about the father absence crisis in America and you know a big part of this crisis is Fathers Behind Bars, but here's a few reminders:

  • There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison or jail.
  • Ninety-two percent (92%) of parents in prison are fathers. 
  • 650,000+ ex-offenders are released from prison every year.
  • Two-thirds of ex-offenders, or 429,000, will likely re-offend within three (3) years.

This problem is one the Department of Corrections in Washington State is addressing. On any given evening, you'll find dads meeting to talk fatherhood and family.

"There's no facilitators. There's no students. What it is is 16 participants trying to become better dads and learning about ourselves." —Joseph Nunan (Correctional Officer, Washington State Penitentiary)

Can't view the video? Watch here.

Derrick Jones, an offender in the Washington State Penitentiary says of the Inside Out Dad® Program:

Primarily, the program is really geared toward men learning to communicate. Really, learning how to communicate with our children, learning how to communicate with ourselves, reflect back on our past, and try to understand why I think the way that I think.

The InsideOut Dad® Program is offered at several prisons in Washington State. The goal of the program is to offer the skills that fathers in prison need to help connect them to their children and families—both while in prison and once released.

We are encouraged by Officer Nunan and what he has to say:  

What the program does is to let the inmates know why they're there, to make them understand what happened to them to get there, and to be able to say you've got things to offer to your children. 

Can you imagine the sense of purpose this can give to father behind bars? To understand that he matters. That he can correct mistakes made in life. That he can work to restore what may be broken in his family or with his child.

The video shows John Radzikowski, a volunteer, explain the importance of having a program like InsideOut Dad® for inmates:

The prison culture itself does not allow for men to talk about their children in an intimate way. What this has done is we can together collectively to talk about our parenting, and not only our parenting skills, but also if we had parents in our own lives. And what that led to is dealing with issues of the heart.

In the West Complex, the correctional officers who volunteer for InsideOut Dad® come in plain clothes, during non-work hours, and they volunteer their time to help these dads become better fathers.

Officer Nunan says of the program:

We can see a direct correlation between this course and the inmate attitudes on the outside of this course...There's a positivity in there (during a program session) that I never expected. And it's something that should be harnessed and encouraged to grow.

We agree with you, Officer Nunan. This program should be encouraged to grow!



Whether you work in corrections or would like to volunteer leading dads to be better dads, you can download the free sample > InsideOut Dad®

InsideOut Dad® is the nation's only evidence-based fatherhood program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers. Please consider volunteering to help connect father to family.

The Father Factor Blog

Upcoming Free Webinar from FRPN > Engaging Mothers & Improving Coparenting in Fatherhood Programs

On Tuesday, September 22 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST, the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) will host their third learning community webinar for fatherhood practitioners and researchers. Find more information in this post.


NFI is committed to helping you help dads. NFI's president Christopher A. Brown serves on the FRPN steering committee and as you may have seen on this blog, we post updates from this research network periodically. 

Here's a quick reminder about theFatherhood Research & Practice Network (FRPN)...

The FRPN seeks to:

  • Promote rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs.
  • Expand the number of researchers and practitioners collaborating to evaluate these programs.
  • Disseminate information that leads to effective fatherhood practice and evaluation research.

The FRPN will host a webinar called "Engaging Mothers in Fatherhood Programs and Improving Coparenting Among Unmarried Parents" 

Key topics to be discussed in this free webinar will include:

  • Why mother engagement is important for fatherhood programs.
  • Why mothers may be reluctant to participate in fatherhood programs and successful strategies to engage them.
  • Coparenting interventions and curricula.
  • Addressing domestic violence and safety.
  • Current research on coparenting.
  • Relevant outcomes and measurement.
  • Moving the coparenting field forward.
Register for the FRPN Engaging Mothers and Improving Coparenting Among Unmarried Parents webinar here.

The Father Factor Blog

How To Fund Your Fatherhood Program

We often get requests from fatherhood leaders looking for funding. We understand you want to do all you can to help fathers and families in your community. We also know organizational budgets are tight and funding can be difficult to secure. Maybe you're looking to secure funding or seeking fresh ideas. In our experience of working with program leaders, we've found several ways to find funds—that leaders often don't think about. Be sure you're taking advantage of what's out there related to funding your fatherhood program.

Funding from Your Own Budget

We know, we know. Your budget is maxed out. But, what doesn't get planned doesn't get done. So, the first and best option to consider is how you can find funding within your own organizational budget.

Consider pulling a small amount of money from a program(s) that are not as successful as expected, or from a budget where, with some shrewd planning, costs could be reduced, and that extra funding be shifted to investing in low-cost fatherhood resources to augment your services. (And, when you have the opportunity to plan budgets for the next fiscal year, be sure to include fatherhood in your planning, and earmark funds for fatherhood skill-building resources, just as you would for other handouts/brochures for other types of clients you serve.)

In case you haven't seen, NFI offers affordable skill-building resources that you can start using in your day-to-day activities with a small budget and little to no staff time. For example, NFI’s brochures ($17.99 for a 50 pack) and pocket guides with tips for dads and new dads ($12.99 for a 5 pack) are easy, low-intensity ways to begin by adding some fatherhood materials to your offerings. Providing materials that are specifically father focused is an easy, budget-friendly way to begin.

If you're eager to start a more robust, high-intensity fatherhood program with funding from your own budget, NFI offers complete fatherhood program kits that allow you to begin your fatherhood program for as little at $600 or less with no formal facilitator training required. This “out-of-the-box” approach means that NFI’s complete program kits come with a facilitator’s manual, CD/DVD, and at least 10 fathering handbooks for your class attendees; all you need to budget for is the ongoing handbook costs (approximately $9 per dad, per class.) No formal training is required for your facilitators because of the easy to follow program format and facilitator tips within the facilitator’s manual. (Note: NFI offers formal curriculum training for facilitators if desired.) Think about whom in your organization could lead a fatherhood group, or seek volunteers to step into this role.

Another programming alternative could be investing in one of NFI’s medium intensity workshops kits that cover a variety of topics. For example, The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad® Workshop is an 8-hour workshop you can run for fathers that combines the fundamental fathering principles from National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad® programs with FranklinCovey®'s timeless 7 Habits. The 7 Habits program costs as little as $379 to begin, plus the cost of additional handbooks for dads who attend. Or, consider the popular Doctor Dad® Workshops, which allow you to choose from four child health and safety topics to equip dads with practical skills they need to care for their children: The Safe Child, The Injured Child, The Sick Child, and the Well Child. You can simply run one or all four workshops, for as little as $79 per workshops (or get all four for $239 including starter handbooks.)

Whichever level you choose, providing father-specific, skill-building materials at some level is a step in the right direction.

Funding from Outside Sources

Funding from outside sources is an option that your organization may want to pursue – in addition to starting fatherhood work on a smaller scale using funds from your own budget. With some planning you may be able to find an outside funding source that will provide for all aspects of your work with fathers.

From training your fatherhood program facilitators, to providing funding to sustain your program (staff stipends, ongoing fathering handbook costs, and other materials needed to run fatherhood program classes), outside funding could open doors for your fatherhood program you may have never imagined. And, you may be able to serve even more fathers than you ever thought possible.

There are several routes your organization may want to explore in seeking outside funding:

  • Individuals
  • Foundations
  • Corporations
  • Local, State & Federal Government
  • Special Events/Fundraisers

Here are websites you can research funding opportunities. 

Federal Grant Resources

  • > A federal site that aggregates all federal grant opportunities. You can search for grants currently being offered and access grant writing resources.
  • Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Circulars > Provide direction on federal budgeting and expensing for nonprofits, education institutions and state, local and Indian Tribe governments.

Foundation / Grant Funding

  • Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grants > With these grants coming to an end, the Administration has proposed a more comprehensive Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund as a successor initiative.
  • Foundation Center > A subscription-based website that offers research on foundations, including family foundations and other tools for grant seekers.
  • Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence > Search for all types of grants.
  • The Grant Station > An online funding resource for organizations seeking grants throughout the world.  Providing access to a comprehensive online database of grant makers, as well as other valuable tools, GrantStation can help your organization make smarter, better-informed fundraising decisions. 
  • The Grantsmanship Center > Offers a variety of training such as The Grantsmanship Training Program, Earned Income Strategies and Competing for Federal Grants.
  • Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) > Provides a range of training programs and webinars to help you raise money from your community.  Additionally, they offer articles and subscription based services to aid in your fundraising efforts. 

Question > What would you add to this list?
Are there ways you've found funding that could help other fatherhood leaders?

Please note we cover the details of funding your fatherhood program in our Father Engagement Certificate Training. We have five total sessions in our training. The first four sessions cover foundational information, program design, recruitment and retention, and involving moms. In the fifth session we cover...

FEC_training_logoFundraising: How to Develop a Funding Plan for a Fatherhood Program
We help you think through how you will fund your fatherhood program and the importance of a Fund Development Plan. You will learn about the nuances of raising funds from individuals and foundations, as well as how to profile, research, select, and engage different types of funders/funding streams. Thinking through your funding options will help you prepare to launch a successful - and sustainable - fatherhood program.

The Father Factor Blog

3 Rules You're Breaking When Talking with Your Child

I know all you want to talk about is relationships. You want to sit around communicating all day long. Not. Here's the deal though, when we talk about relationships, we could talk about many different things, but the most important topic when it comes to relationships is communication. In our work with dads, we see communication issues play out when it comes to their children and with the wife and/or mom of the children. Communication is often a big issue when it comes to marriage, coparenting, and fatherhood. That said, let's talk about communication...

3 Rules You're Breaking When Talking with Your Child communication relationships

Last time to good luck, let's recall the five traits of the 24/7 Dad:

  1. The 24/7 Dad is Self-Aware: The 24/7 Dad is aware of himself as a man and aware of how important he is to his family. Read more about The Importance of the Self-Aware Father.
  2. The 24/7 Dad Cares For Self: The 24/7 Dad takes care of himself. Read more about The Oxygen Mask Rule of Fatherhood.
  3. The 24/7 Dad Understands Fathering Skills: The 24/7 Dad knows his role in the family. Read more about the 3 Things You Should Do > Because You're Being Watched.
  4. The 24/7 Dad Understands Parenting Skills:  The 24/7 Dad nurtures his children. Read Pretty Much Everything You Should Know to be a Master Nurturer
  5. The 24/7 Dad Understands Relationship Skills: The 24/7 Dad builds and maintains healthy relationships with his children, wife/mother of his children, other family members, friends, and community.

Recall the great news? These five traits have a guarantee: master each of them and you are a 24/7 Dad. Let's talk about trait five, a dad and his relationship skills. Well, let's keep this realistic. We can't fix everything related to relationships in one post. But, we can make progress on communication.

For the last several posts, we've talked about how you, dad, are unique and irreplaceable in your child's life. When it comes to parenting and your relationship to your child and your child's mom, it's no different. 

The 24/7 Dad Understands Relationship Skills.

The 24/7 Dad builds and maintains healthy relationships with his children, wife/mother of his children, other family members, friends, and community. He knows and values how relationships shape his children and their lives. The 24/7 Dad knows how the relationship with his wife/mother of his children affects his children and creates a good relationship with her for the sake of his children. He always looks to improve the skills he uses to communicate with others.

The 24/7 Dad communicates his thoughts, feelings, and actions on a daily basis in a way that respects others. Still, one of the greatest challenges 24/7 Dads face in raising their children is how to better communicate. 

What makes the 24/7 Dad different from other dads is that he understands problems with communication start with him and no one else.

Here are 3 rules to follow for communicating with your child...

Odds are good you didn’t wake up this morning and say to yourself, “You know, I should communicate with my kids better...” While you know the importance of communication, you probably need a reminder every now and then that how you communicate daily is of utmost importance. 

Comparisons are sometimes helpful for tough topics. Let’s try one. Instead of calling this tough topic “communication,” let’s call it “racing.”

Reframe your idea about what communication is and change the word “communication” to “racing.” With racing, there are three rules professional drivers follow that totally apply to talking with your child. 

Rule #1—Know Your Racetrack

How you race depends on the track. Drivers know there are four types of racetracks, and they treat each track differently—mainly because each track requires a different strategy.

Likewise, the age or “track” your child is on should change how you communicate. Consider applying the four different racetracks to the stage of your child as follows:

1) Short tracks > These tracks are shorter than one mile and take a more physical strategy.
 In short-track racing, there’s more bumping of cars. If you’re the dad of a new baby, one of your main strategies should be physical touch. Hold your baby as much as possible. Communicating during this stage in your child’s life is as much about cuddling than it is about talking.

2) Intermediate tracks > These tracks are usually between one and two miles. They’re challenging, but somewhat “routine” in that all of these tracks are made up of four left turns. The dad of a school-aged child understands the importance of establishing daily routines when it comes to connecting with his child. During this time, you’re busy and so is your child. So every moment must count.

3) Superspeedways > These tracks are usually two miles or more. They’re the fastest of all the tracks in professional racing. The dad of a teenager understands just how fast time passes at this stage of his child’s life. Communication during this stage must take on great quality; because often, the fast pace of life as the dad of a teen may seem to reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour.

4) Road Courses > Only the most experienced drivers do well on road courses. As a dad of a college-age child and/or beyond, you will have more “turns” than the other three dads. At this stage, it will be how well you maneuver through the turns that will give you a successful outcome.

Become an expert on the track you are racing for each stage in your child’s life. While you can prepare somewhat for what will happen, you must complete many laps around the track to gain the experience you need for effective communication with your child at any age.

Rule #2—Practice, Practice, Practice. And then Practice Some More.

When drivers aren’t “on the track,” they practice. Their work is about more than that short moment on the racetrack. All of their time leading up to the race is spent on practice.

When is the right time to practice? Early and often. Just like the best drivers raced cars when they were young, you must spend time and talk with your child early and often. 

It’s never too early to talk and listen to your child. Spend time with your child and have a purpose in what you do during your time together. Seize every moment to get practice. 

Rule #3—Make Adjustments

Drivers know success isn’t simply about practice and performing well on the track. The best drivers know the importance of making adjustments. 

Adjustments are crucial in racing. A driver that can’t lead his team to make mid-race adjustments won’t win. Likewise, you will learn to be a dad by trial and error. You will make mistakes. Things will go wrong. Great drivers know the importance of making adjustments, from research and development in the off-season to communicating the necessary adjustments to his team during the race. 

Research and development is the science behind the racing. If you toured a NASCAR research facility, for example, you typically won't see the driver and the car together.

Likewise, you will need to study fatherhood, even if you don’t live with your child. Become a student of fatherhood. Learn from books, articles, magazines, and more experienced dads. 

As a racecar driver, how you race depends on your knowledge and skill of the track, the amount of time you practice, and the amount of effort you use to make adjustments. With the right skills, experience, and practice, you can be successful with any track...err...with any child! 

The 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I relate?

New Call-to-action

Please go here to buy the shirt! Then, share pics of yourself or the dad in your life using #247Dad on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Fatherhood leaders > Wear this unique t-shirt to show how proud you are to be a leader. Give it to dads who attend your program or as a graduation gift.

Dads, Moms, & Children > Wear this shirt to show your passion for fatherhood and inspire those around you to live as responsible fathers. Or, give as a gift to a dad you know.

Question > What does being a 24/7 Dad mean to you?

The Father Factor Blog

How You and Your Fatherhood Program Can Get Found Online

In my over three years working with fatherhood leaders and programs, I know you. You're well-intentioned and care about people. You're doing great work with great heart. But, you're too busy doing this great work to talk about the great work. You don't have time, staff, or energy to get started online. So you don't...and no one is seeing your great impact. It bothers me that you aren't getting the attention you deserve. 

I don't have all of the answers. But, it seems to me, if you can get a small start with blogging and social media, you and others can quickly start to see the impact you're having on fathers and families. I'm not talking about celebrity stuff here. I want you and your program to be seen. I want folks around you to see what you're doing and I want it to inspire others to help dads. Let's talk about how you, the super busy fatherhood leader, can get started online.

Fatherhood Leader > How You Can Get Started Online > How You and Your Fatherhood Program Can Get Found Online

First, let's talk about the why. Why does "getting found" online matter? Because your work inspires other folks to serve dads. It's also nice for you to show your work to potential investors and/or the people who may attend or volunteer for your program. If you can start blogging and doing social media, you will make more impact in your community. Basically, I want folks to see your work and think of you when they think about fatherhood. You are the authority in your area when it comes to fatherhood and family.

Consider this:

  • Do dads in your community know you as the helpful authority you are? How? How can they contact you right now?

When I get word of a group doing awesome things to serve dads, I usually can't find them through Google search. This is a problem. If I can't find you, and I know about you, how will a dad who needs your help, but doesn't know about you, find you?

Consider your blog like New York City. There are several major highways running through NYC. NYC has three major airports, major bus transportation, two train get the point.

Conversely, in the small town in Tennessee where I grew up, there's one highway. My hometown is great—unless you're planning on enjoying access to transportation once you visit. There are no airports in my hometown. You can't catch a bus. There isn't a train. I've never seen a cab.

Here's the point: the highways, trains, buses and planes are the things that can bring folks to you. All of the links from other sites, all of the mentions of you and your fatherhood program on social media, that's how folks find you. All of this is what turns your blog into a thing that pulls folks in to your program. There should be lots of ways for folks to find you. The more the better!

Here are two ways you can get started online without a ton of effort and time. 

1) Get Started by Blogging

One of the best ways to get found online is through blogging. Make it so you can post updates easily and on a regular basis. Think weekly rather than daily. Your readers are busy too. But try to create and/or re-purpose content on a regular basis.

There are a few things that most folks recommend when getting started blogging: 

  1. Create your blog with an easy-to-remember name. Don't get too cute. Think long-term and and error on the side of conservative rather than on fads. 
  2. Create helpful content. Stuff that dads in your area care about. What are the dads you serve asking you. Answer those same questions on your fancy new blog.
  3. Read parenting and leadership blogs to fuel your content. 
  4. Be sure to comment on other folks' blogs.

Doing these things should get your blogging off to a great start. See, that wasn't bad was it? Now to tackle social media...

2) Get Started Using Social Media

Can people find you on social media? Do you have a Facebook page? What about other social media platforms like twitter? Consider starting an account on the popular platforms where dads in your area are. Here are a few tried and true tips when it comes to social media.

It all starts with a good profile. There are a few best practices that apply to all social media platforms. Beyond these things, what you do depends on the platform. Here we go...

What to do on most social media platforms:

  1. Pick the right username > 
    • Use your real name when possible.
    • Make your username as simple as possible. Try to stay away from numbers and symbols.
    • Pick a name that’s available on most social sites. Reminder, the goal is to build engagement so folks recognize you
  2. Pick the perfect profile image > this image will show up everywhere.
  3. Write a good bio/summary > don’t skip this step. What can you say to instill confidence with your reader? Consider the folks who you are interested in connecting with. 
  4. Website links > be sure to add your blog or link to social sites when possible

Now that you're armed with this knowledge, you can rock out any of the following social media platforms. You're ready to go, I can feel it...

Getting Started on Facebook

  1. Create a Facebook business page (Here's NFI's Facebook page). Team Dad is great on Facebook. We share their posts a lot. They post graduation pictures. We love seeing fatherhood program graduations.
  2. Post a link to your business page from your personal profile.
  3. Promote your Facebook page within your existing channels (website, blog, email, LinkedIn profile, etc)
  4. Next time you host a local event (like a conference, webinar, and/or training) use Facebook events to invite people. (Consider inviting NFI, that way we know about it!)

Getting Started on LinkedIn

  1. Build a LinkedIn group (and connect with NFI on LinkedIn).
  2. Make sure your linked profile is 100 percent complete.
  3. Search through groups to find ones focused in your area. Don't overdo it on the groups. There's a maximum number you can join. Consider future partnerships in the community at this point.

Gathering Started on Twitter

  1. Create an account (follow NFI's Twitter account).
  2. Start tweeting. Talk about what's going on behind the scenes. 
  3. Follow folks in your network using the search feature in Twitter.
  4. Monitor other fatherhood, leadership and/or parenting accounts and retweet them.

Getting Started on YouTube

  1. Create a channel. (Here's NFI's YouTube account.)
  2. Consider posting your stories: things like "what we do here" and "get to know a staffer" can be helpful
  3. Consider interviewing local people for tips on parenting and the like.
  4. Create and share how-to videos on all things fatherhood.

Question > Are you doing any of these steps online? Where can I find you and your fatherhood program? Post the links to your website/blog and social media accounts in the comments and I'll like them, follow them, and/or connect with them.

The Father Factor Blog

Spotlight > TOPS DAD Program in Arizona [Video]

"Any man can be a father, it takes someone special to be a dad." These words have been said for years. But a program in Arizona is living and teaching them to fathers. We're excited to see this group raise up a new generation of great dads. Check them out... 

tops dad program in Arizona fatherhood program

Tucson News Now recently ran a story about this local group who is giving men real advice about being a dad. TOPS DAD Program is all about giving dads the tools and confidence dads need to be involved in their child's life and becoming the dad they want to be. 

Watch the video below and you'll find a group of dads who understand that becoming a dad is way more than providing with a wallet—it's about being available and present. They call it "The Dad Factor". It means each and every dad has a unique and special gift they bring to raising a child. The group brings this ability out in dads by providing peer support, whether is one-on-one or with a facilitator, and with group settings.

The group knows from experience that getting together to talk with other men is vital because the men learn other ways of doing things. Dads can ask other men about parenting. What a novel idea, right? Get men in a room and get them talking about what it's like to be a dad. We couldn't be more happy about the TOPS DAD Program and what they are doing for Arizona dads. 

Here are details about the TOPS DAD program. 

Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services offers two courses for dads under the TOPS DAD Program. They help every dad from expecting fathers in their teens to fathers in their 40's. 

  • for men under 21, a free program with services that include C-P-R certification, car seat education and support groups.
  • for dads that are 21 and over, a free, onetime workshop for men only. First-time dads learn topics like parental teamwork, handling, and changing a baby and the role of a father in the family.

The group uses our 24/7 Dad® Program, our 12-week program that teaches dads everything from communication and co-parenting strategies, to tips on connecting with their child and how to discipline.

TOPS DAD Program's mission is:

At TOPS, our mission is to create healthy outcomes for children, their families, and the community. Through our TOPS DAD program, we work with fathers of all ages in Maricopa and Pima counties to be involved in their child's life and raise healthy children by instilling the Dad Factor. The Dad Factor means each and every dad has a unique and special gift that they bring to raising their child. Our program, through peer support and one-on-one facilitation, helps to bring that out so that every father can become the dad they want to be.

Learn more about TOPS DAD Program.

The Father Factor Blog

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