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The Father Factor


4 New, Free, Easy-to-Use Assessment and Evaluation Tools

The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) recently released four free, easy-to-use assessment and evaluation tools for use in assessing fathers' involvement in the lives of their children or with any intervention designed to increase father involvement. (I sit on the FRPN's advisory committee.) They include tools that measure:

  • Father-child contact
  • Fathers' decision-making responsibility
  • Fathers' engagement with children at different ages (four versions based on the age of a child)
  • Fathers' challenges to involvement

Members of the FRPN research team developed the tools based on interviews they conducted in several states with a large sample of 650 nonresidential fathers. 

frpn-logo.pngWhat makes these tools so useful is their potential application in any setting in which you want to assess the level of fathers' involvement (e.g. at program intake) and to any intervention (e.g. program or workshop) that might affect the outcomes measured by the instruments. But perhaps their primary benefit is their short length. Given the challenge practitioners can sometimes face in the amount of time available for completing assessments and evaluations, the short length of these tools means you can quickly administer them, or have fathers complete them on their own, in almost any setting without taking too much of your own or fathers' time. You can also combine them with other assessment or evaluation tools (e.g. those designed to measure improvements in specific attitudes, knowledge, or skills addressed in a program, such as NFI's 24/7 Dad® Fathering Survey) without substantially increasing the amount of time it takes to conduct an assessment or evaluation.

With the exception of the fathers' engagement tool for children of different ages, the FRPN team created short videos (3 1/2 to 6 minutes in length) that describe these tools and how to use them (e.g. as part of a pre-post evaluation and short-term and long-term follow up after an intervention ends). To view these videos and download the tools, click here

When do you assess fathers' involvement, and what tools do you use to assess that involvement? 

What tools do you use to evaluate your interventions to increase fathers' involvement?

The Father Factor Blog

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

Please Help NFI Provide Free Education and Resources

As you consider the charities to support by the end of the year, please consider donating to National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). 

One of the primary ways NFI helps improve child well-being is to provide the free education and resources that fathers and the organizations that serve fathers need to increase father involvement. We need your financial support to provide free education and resources and, in particular, to continue to grow the number of free resources we provide that now number more than 100. Fathers and organizations that can’t afford to pay for resources turn to NFI for help. We want—indeed, we must—continue to help the fathers and organizations most in need.

The demand for free resources is great. Many fathers and organizations have accessed those resources through our website. More than 25,000 free resources have been downloaded, used, and shared since the start of 2013!

Your donation will help us continue to provide new free resources and improve current ones. We plan, for example, to make our free FatherSOURCE  Locator even better. This free resource helps fathers locate organizations in their communities that serve fathers. We regularly receive calls and emails from fathers and their loved ones desperate to find help in their communities. We need donations to upgrade the locator to include more organizations—and provide even more information about the kinds of resources organizations provide (e.g. fatherhood programs)—so that fathers can make more informed decisions about which organizations can best help them. No other organization provides this father-serving resource. Help us make it even better!

We also need your donation to continue as the nation’s leading voice on responsible fatherhood. Your donation will help us continue to educate fathers and the general public. It will help us disseminate research on the causes and consequences of father absence, conduct interviews with national media outlets, publish commentaries on NFI-owned and third party media properties (e.g. The Huffington Post), and partner with major entertainment media and consumer brands to portray a positive image of fathers. No other fatherhood organization has this broad educational, cultural focus.

Please consider making a year-end donation to NFI of at least $100. We will make the best use of your donation. Indeed, I’ve committed to increasing the amount of every donation that goes toward education, programs, and services. We’ve steadily increased that amount during the past several years so that we use 80 cents of every $1 to educate and equip fathers and organizations. Moreover, NFI has received GuideStar’s Gold Participant designation—GuideStar’s highest designation—that highlights our commitment to transparency.

If you need more information as you consider making a donation, click here for an infographic that describes exactly how we will stretch your donation to improve child well-being. You can mail your donation or make it through our website at

Did you know that NFI provides more free education and resources on fatherhood than any organization in the country?

Did you know that NFI accepts no government funding and relies on donations to provide free education and resources?

The Father Factor Blog

Father Facts 7 > State Rates of Father Absence

Do you know the rate of father absence in your state? If you live in one of the two or three most populous cities in your state, do you know the rate in your city?

Father Facts 7State data on father absence is one of the new sections in National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts 7. Before you read on, see whether you can answer the following questions. The answers appear at the end of the post. Write down your answers and see whether any of the answers surprise you.

1) Which state has the highest rate of father absence?

2) Which state has the lowest rate of father absence?

3) Of the most populous cities in each state, which has the highest rate of father absence?

4) Does New York City or Los Angeles have a higher rate of father absence?

5) Does New York City or Rapid City, SD have a lower rate of father absence?

Father absence rates for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico highlight trends in the regions most impacted by father absence. Rates of father absence vary dramatically across the country and within specific regions and states. Data on father absence for major and most populated cities in each state reflect this variance. Nevertheless, it’s clear that more children in the south and in Puerto Rico live in father-absent homes compared to other areas of the country.

To learn more about overall state rates of father absence, rates in major cities within each state, and to access the research and data, purchase and download Father Facts 7 today.

Answers: 1) Mississippi (Puerto Rico, although not a state, has a higher rate); 2) Utah; 3) Wilmington, Delaware; 4) New York City (less than ½ the father absence rate of Wilmington, DE); 5) New York City

Father Facts 7

Becoming Better Fathers – And Father Figures

We’ve seen the staggering statistics regarding fatherless many times. John Sowers, in his book, Fatherless Generation, links fatherlessness to:

  • 63 percent of youth suicides;
  • 71 percent of pregnant teenagers;
  • 85 percent of all youth who exhibit behavior disorders;
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts;
  • 75 percent of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers;
  • And 85 percent of all youths sitting in prison.

Lord knows we need more men to step up to be better fathers. Most of the posts on The Father Factor are about just that—fantastic resources for all of us men to become better fathers to our children. This post is slightly different. 

My former posts here about building strong children, and about healing our own father wound were focused on us as fathers. This post is a heartfelt plea to consider becoming a father-figure to a fatherless child (or younger man) who is not your own biologically.

I met Ricks only one week after he and his mother came from Liberia to the United States. They had spent the last nine years in Liberian refugee camps, and they arrived with only the clothes on their backs and one small backpack. Ricks was twelve years old then. He’s 21 today.

In the years between, I’ve been a close friend to his family, and an informal mentor to him. Ricks seems to feel I’ve filled a father-figure role in his life. I received this beautiful text message last year from him: “Keith, thank you for being such an important person in my life. Happy Father’s Day.”

Though a mentor is not a father, and can never replace a missing father, we can make a significant impact and fulfill a desperately needed role in a young man’s or young woman’s life who doesn’t have a dad to relate to, communicate with, or receive love and guidance from.

All children yearn for their missing father, and that hunger never goes away. A committed and loving mentor cannot fully remove that hurt, but we can lessen the negative impact, and we can point kids in the right direction, not only potentially changing the course of that child’s life but also positively impacting society.

A beautiful Jewish teaching says, “To save one life is to save the world.” A profound privilege of mentoring is that by reaching one child, we can change the world. The impact and the effects can be as satisfying for the mentor as they are for the young men and women whose lives may be forever transformed. 

As a youth pastor for ten years, I mentored hundreds of high school students, many of whom had poor or no relationships with their fathers. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but I fulfilled a father figure role for many of those students, showing them what a father could be and helping them experience what a father’s love and approval could feel like.

As a founding board member and fatherhood trainer for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program in Texas for six years, I coached over 600 incarcerated men. I taught them how to reconnect with their kids whom most had abandoned, and how to learn to be better dads, even while still behind bars. I loved being a father figure mentor to these men, teaching them the essential fathering skills that became the core content of my book, How to Be a Great Dad—No Matter What Kind of Father You Had.

The skills of becoming a great mentor are fundamentally the same as those for becoming a great dad. I teach the men I now coach and mentor this simple and yet highly effective skill set: Affirmation, Acceptance, and Affection.

If every father and mentor would commit to learning these three easy-to-master skills, the entire world would become a better place. And millions of fatherless children would finally feel the love and receive the guidance they desperately need not only to survive this life, but to find their way, to succeed, and to enjoy healthy and loving relationships—most of which may remain out of reach without the skilled mentoring you and I can provide. 

I applaud the wonderful work Esquire is doing through their Mentoring Project, seeking to raise the next generation of good men by training 100,000 new mentors by the year 2020. Perhaps you could become one of them.

A mentor is not a father, and doesn’t even have to be a (biological) father, but we can stand in the gap and provide the missing love and guidance children not only need but also crave. And believe me, I know first-hand that doing so is one of the most fulfilling experiences of life. I’ve trained hundreds of men how to affirm children, how to express acceptance, and even how to show affection in appropriate and meaningful ways.

You can become a great mentor by learning and applying the same fundamental skills that help me be a loving father figure to Ricks and a great dad to my own three teenage sons. I want you to feel the same joy in your heart I feel in mine, and to smile from ear to ear the way I do, when I read Father’s Day gratitude messages each year from all four of my sons. I’d love to help you. Please check out my completely free training videos today.

Have you ever mentored another dad or a child?

Free Resources for Mentoring:

The Father Factor Blog

Stats at top of this post are reported in John Sowers, Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 36-37.

Father Facts 7: Grandfathers Raising Grandchildren

Grandfathers raising grandchildren is one of the most recent trends related to father absence and involvement. I’m not talking about the traditional role many grandfathers play as another male role model in children’s lives. This trend speaks to grandfathers as the primary male role model when they step into the void left by absent fathers. 

Father Facts 7As described in one of the new sections in National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts 7, the number of custodial grandparents in the United States has doubled since 1970 to almost three million.

Today approximately 10% of children live with a caretaker grandparent. Although most of the research on grandparents raising grandchildren has focused on grandmother-maintained households, we know more than ever about grandfather-maintained households.

The factors that lead to grandfathers raising their grandchildren include

  • their children’s (parents of their grandchildren) divorce,
  • substance abuse,
  • incarceration,
  • child abuse,
  • unemployment,
  • and death

Twenty-three (23) percent of grandchildren raised by grandparents (with no parent present) live with their grandfathers. A large majority of these grandparents are between the age of 50 and 69 and have had custody of their grandchildren for more than five years. The highest rate of custodial grandparenting is in the South and among African American and Asian populations.

To learn more about grandfathers raising grandchildren, and to access the research and data, purchase and download Father Facts 7 today.

Father Facts 7

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

Father Facts 7: How Involved Fathers Benefit Mothers

Involved fathers benefit the entire family including mothers. 

Father Facts 7A recent study, for example, found that paternal involvement during pregnancy was shown to positively influence health outcomes for the mother, child, and father.

New parents described how attending ultra-sound appointments together strengthened their relationship. Mothers found the father’s presence soothing and reassuring during the pregnancy. Mothers also cited the father as the best source of support during the nine months.

As described in one of the new sections in National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts 7, mothers receive a number of benefits when fathers are involved with their children. These benefits include

  • more leisure time,
  • a healthier birth,
  • lower rates of postpartum depression, depression and stress generally,
  • and a higher quality mother-father relationship.

Interestingly, the likelihood of a mother remarrying (potentially good for her well-being) is higher when the non-resident father is involved in the lives of her children. 

To learn more about how involved fathers benefit mothers, and to access the research and data, purchase and download Father Facts 7 today.

Father Facts 7

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. 

NFI launched our FEC training in May of this year, and we have already received an amazing response from individuals who have taken it, representing community action agencies, military departments, correctional facilities, Head Start and Early Head Start organizations, and child welfare agencies.

I was excited to hear that over 125 individuals have already received their certificates and have started to take their fatherhood work to the next level. FEC participants have shared how the training has helped their organizations address key challenges around father-friendliness, program design, recruitment and retention, involving moms, and fundraising.

Here are a few comments from FEC participants:

  • “I thought it was very well structured -- i.e., the 5 distinct sessions, the 4 areas of focus laid out in session 1, etc. -- very cohesive. I think this is a real how-to curriculum.”
  • “The variety of topics were helpful and the background/detailed information helped me (who is a lower level employee instead of a manager).”
  • “[I liked] how well thought out the program was -- great material and ideas from multiple angles.”
  • “[The training] was convenient to schedule when [I was] available. [I found the] referral to the book ‘Switch’ by Chip and Dan Heath [helpful]. I obtained the book at my local library and have gained much wisdom about the process of change. Thank you!”

Additional feedback from FEC participants shows that 94% would recommend the FEC to other fatherhood practitioners.

I am excited to hear from so many who have shared how valuable the FEC has been to their fatherhood work and look forward to hearing more stories related to the application of FEC strategies.

Are you an FEC graduate? If not, learn more here. If so, let us know how you like the training and how you are using it today in the comment section of this post.

The Father Factor Blog

Father Facts 7: The Impact of Incarceration on Father Absence

Incarceration makes a significant contribution to father absence. Indeed, it is a cause of father absence. Nearly 2 million children have a parent in jail or prison. More than 9 in 10 parents in prison are fathers (93%).

Father Facts 7As described in one of the new sections in National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts 7, 1 in 28 children in the United States have an incarcerated parent.

The number of incarcerated fathers has dramatically increased over the past 30 years, leaving children to be raised without their biological father, which creates additional challenges for parents and children.

The number of children with an incarcerated father has risen 79% since 1991. Children with incarcerated fathers are at higher risks of antisocial behavior.

When compared to children of absentee, but not incarcerated fathers, children with incarcerated fathers showed more aggressive and inattentive behaviors.

To learn more about the impact of incarceration on father absence, and to access the research and data, purchase and download Father Facts 7 today.

Father Facts 7

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.

I was then greeted by the Warden, Tim Buchanan, who told me that “fatherhood is one of the first things that inmates are spoken to about as soon as they get off of the bus. I’ve recognized that fatherhood is a straight path to their souls.”

Noble Corrections Program

Mr. Buchanan has a team of fatherhood champions who are equally passionate about engaging men around fatherhood. They help facilitate a number of fatherhood and parenting programs.

These programs include: InsideOut Dad®, Responsibilities As a Man (RAM), Fathers of Change, Family Ties, and TYRO Dads. They also offer a special annual event called “Celebrating Fatherhood” where inmates’ children come into the facility and spend time with their fathers. This event requires that participating fathers remain “ticket-free” (e.g. no conduct reports). Mr. Buchanan says this type of incentive-driven event has had a strong impact on reducing the number of tickets. They now have 1,600 men per year without a single ticket!

The InsideOut Dad® program is central to their work with fathers. More than 500 fathers have completed the program since 2009. They currently run 8 groups and have an InsideOut Dad® Alumni Organization for fathers who have completed the program. The Alumni Organization meets weekly to coordinate fundraisers, complete community service projects, and facilitate several of the InsideOut Dad® groups.

I was fortunate to meet many of these men from the Alumni Organization. They shared powerful stories of how InsideOut Dad® helped them become better men and fathers. One father shared how the program helped him re-establish the relationship with his daughter, with whom he had lost contact because of his drug addiction. He applied what he learned during the program to begin the reconciliation process. He proudly showed me a letter from his daughter that expressed a deep love and appreciation for the changes he made. He said this development would not have happened without InsideOut Dad®.

The treasurer of the Alumni Organization reinforced why the program has such an impact on participants when he said, “The men all have a lot of trust in the program, and it provides them with encouragement for the future along with tips to build a healthier future.”

I was energized when I left the facility (donning my new Forever Dads hat, which I’m proudly wearing in the group photo), knowing that so many families and communities are being transformed one father at a time through the great work at the Noble Correctional Institution.


Want to help incarcerated fathers? Volunteer to lead dads. You can get started by downloading the free sample of 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

Father Facts 7 is Here, Ready to Help You

The next edition of Father Facts is here! Father Facts 7 continues the tradition of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) providing the most comprehensive resource on research on father absence and involvement.

Father Facts 7I'm very excited about Father Facts 7 because it includes nearly 200 new studies (197, to be exact). That’s a lot of new studies since we published Father Facts 6 in 2011. It also contains 14 new chapters and sections! They include state level data on father absence (which compliments the national data Father Facts has always included), the impact of father involvement on women's/mother's well-being, the societal costs of father absence, the biological connection between fathers and children, grandfathers raising grandchildren, and so much more.

In addition to all the latest research and data and the new chapters and sections, here is what you’ll find in the Father Facts 7 that takes this resource to an even more helpful level: 

  • An introduction to each section that describes its relevance—why it’s important.
  • A summary of the research and data in each section and subsection that describes what we know and don’t know about the subject/topic of the section or subsection. You don’t have to read every entry and decide what the research and data indicate.
  • Research and data are organized in descending chronological order so it’s easy to find the most recent research and data.
  • The electronic format is easy to search for the topics, research, and data you need. It also makes it easy to cut and paste research and data—and even the summaries—into research papers, proposals, presentations, emails, etc.

It’s also more convenient to acquire! Just purchase it here, receive the link to download it, and you’ll have it in no time.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone who helped NFI create this new edition. I had the privilege of working with Dr. Jay Fagan of Temple University, one of the country's leading researchers on father involvement, and three of his graduate students—Jessica DeMarchis, Adina Freedman, and Mollie Cherson—to identify studies and data, published since our last edition in 2010, that increase our understanding of just how important fathers are to families, children, and our country. Their contribution was enormous, and I can't thank them enough.

Have you downloaded the sample? Get the sample here or visit here for purchasing. Please tell us what you think about this helpful resource and how it will help you in the comments of this post.

Father Facts 7

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