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The Father Factor


Is the InsideOut Dad® Guide to Family Ties Effective?

At NFI, we’re committed to evaluating and improving our resources so organizations will have the highest quality and most effective fatherhood resources in their work with fathers and families.

InsideOut Dad Guide To Family Ties

This commitment extends beyond evaluations of our intensive, group-based programs to many of our less, intensive, but no less important, resources.

To that end, we partnered with U Count Family Home, a social-service agency in Georgetown, DE that serves incarcerated fathers in several correctional facilities in their part of the state, to evaluate the InsideOut Dad® Guide to Family Ties.

The InsideOut Dad® Guide to Family Ties is a self-paced, interactive resource for incarcerated fathers. Practitioners can use it as a stand-alone resource or as a complement to NFI’s InsideOut Dad® group-based program or any other parenting or rehabilitative program.

NFI Developed the Guide for Two Primary Reasons:

First, research shows that establishing and maintaining connections to family members is a critical, if not the most critical, factor in reducing the risk that incarcerated individuals will return to prison or jail after their release.

Second, not every incarcerated father can participate in NFI’s group-based InsideOut Dad® program. Some corrections systems and facilities that use the program have limited capacity and cannot provide enough groups to meet the demand of fathers who want to participate in it. Other systems and facilities lack the capacity to provide group-based fathering and parenting programs of any kind. And some fathers are reluctant to participate in group-based programs preferring instead to use self-paced resources.

The Guide covers important topics for incarcerated or recently incarcerated fathers such as:

  • What to expect from your children and family after incarceration
  • Assessing yourself as a dad and a partner
  • Getting and staying in touch with your children and family
  • Creating a plan to reenter the lives of your children and family, along with job, school, etc. plans

The Study
U Count Family Home is a new 3/4 recovery house in Georgetown, DE with a special focus on dads in recovery. The typical resident is coming from prison, homelessness or rehab, and working toward reunifying with their children.

In the fall and winter of 2012, U Count staff provided the guide to a diverse group of 49 fathers in one of the facilities they serve. U Count staff administered a pre-test before the fathers read the guide and completed its interactive exercises. After they finished the guide, these fathers completed the post-test to measure the impact of the guide on their knowledge about the content in it. Thirty-three (33) of these fathers also completed a survey that measured their satisfaction with the guide.

The results of the evaluation illustrate that the guide increased fathers’ knowledge in several areas that are critical to helping fathers, while they are in prison or jail, to create and maintain connections with their children and families. The results also illustrate that the guide accomplishes each of its objectives and that fathers are very satisfied with the guide.

So, is the InsideOut Dad® Guide to Family Ties Effective? You bet it is!

Guide Uses and BenefitsInsideOut Dad Guide To Family Ties Cover


  • Great for long or short-term stay facilities (not just prisons, but jails, half-way houses, etc.) Use the guide as part of a one-on-one case management, counseling, coaching, or mentoring 
  • Ideal supplement to the group-based InsideOut Dad®—use it before, during, or after (not intended to replace or substitute for the InsideOut Dad® group-based program)
  • Use with dads on wait lists for the group-based InsideOut Dad® 
  • Implement as a stand-alone, self-paced resource to reach incarcerated fathers who are unable to participate in the group-based InsideOut Dad® program 


  • Easy to use format walks fathers through the guide at their own pace
  • Includes a free, customizable certificate and letter of completion 
  • Includes free post-surveys to measure knowledge gained 
  • Includes a free instruction guide on how to use this great resource 

For more details on the evaluation, download a copy of the evaluation report. And be sure to order your copies of the guide today!

Implementing Evidence-Based Programs: The Devil in the Details

This is a guest blog post from Christopher Brown, Executive Vice President, National Fatherhood Initiative. 

evidenceThe federal government, many state governments, and many private funders continue to place an emphasis on funding evidence-based programs. Indeed, many funders now require the use of evidence-based programs for receipt of funds.

What is lost on many funders is how difficult it is to implement evidence-based programs with fidelity (i.e. as designed). The primary reasons are:

  • How difficult (and often impossible) it is to replicate the controlled environments in which evaluations are conducted.
  • Lack of access to the resources (e.g. funding and staffing) in which programs are rigorously evaluated.
  • The desire to implement evidence-based programs with populations or in settings that are different from the populations or settings in which programs are evaluated.

These reasons are compounded by one of the unintended consequences of the emphasis on funding only evidence-based programs—it sends the message that evidence-based programs are the only kinds of programs worthy of funding and implementation. Consequently, an organization might not be willing to use a program that could work well with the population it serves and in its setting simply because it hasn’t undergone a rigorous evaluation. 

Fortunately, there is a growing awareness among some funders of the difficulty in implementing evidence-based programs with fidelity and that there are other programs worthy of implementation that haven’t undergone rigorous evaluations. (These latter programs are typically called “promising programs”.) Some funders now allow grantees to modify the content and delivery of evidence-based programs, within certain limits, and the populations that participate in the programs that they fund. Other funders allow the organizations they fund to implement promising programs that have been shown to be effective based on less rigorous evaluations and programs with content that is informed by evidence. (These latter programs are typically called “evidence-informed programs”.)

This flexibility is wise because an organization that wishes to use an evidence-based program might lack the resources, staff, and organizational culture to implement that program with fidelity. That organization might serve a population and operate in a community that are quite different from those in which the program was evaluated, and it might be better served using a promising or evidence-informed program.

How do NFI’s programs and workshops address these difficulties? NFI provides Facilitator’s Manuals with all of our programs and workshops (and training institutes on our programs) that guide organizations on how to implement them with fidelity. When implementing with fidelity isn’t an option, the modular structure of our programs and workshops provides the flexibility to customize them based on organizations’ resources, cultures, populations served, and community-based settings.

Based on feedback from the organizations that use our programs and workshops, we know that most of them don’t implement our fatherhood programs and workshops exactly as they’re designed. These organizations value the ability to create customized programs by combining portions of our programs and workshops (and often adding our other resources) that best meet their needs and the needs of the fathers and families they serve. 

In closing, please don’t hesitate to contact our Program Support staff at or 240-912-1270. They can help you to create a customized solution for your organization that draws from our more than 100 resources, several of which are either evidence-based, evidence-informed, or promising programs.

For more information on all of our programs, workshops, and other fatherhood resources, visit

The Father Factor Blog > Where Fatherhood Leaders Go To Learn.

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