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The Father Factor

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InsideOut Dad® Designation on National Registry of Evidence-based Programs & Practices

We're excited to announce NFI's InsideOut Dad® is now included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Implementing Evidence-Based Programs: The Devil in the Details

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

Eli Williams, Director of Fatherhood, Talks Fatherhood Kiosks

The following incorporates a guest post by Eli Williams, Director of Fatherhood, Fatherhood Clark County, OH and Urban Light Ministries. If you would like to guest blog for us, email here.

3 Popular Questions When Working With Fathers

At NFI we recieve many questions asking how organizations can better reach and help the fathers going through our fatherhood programs they run. The following are three popular - but tough - questions that are important to wrestle with as individuals and organizations seek to provide greater support to fathers and their respective families.

How To Start A Fatherhood Initiative

This is a guest blog written by NFI Sr. Program Support Consultant, Ave Mulhern. If you would like to blog for us, please send an email.

Preparing Teens for Fatherhood with Boyz2Dads

The following is a guest post by Shawn O'Keefe, Youth Programs Specialist for Newport News Department of Human Services. If you would like to guest blog for us, email here.

Factor Fathers in 2013 - The Year You Involve Dads

Sexy Sustainability: The Missing Element in Effective Father Engagement

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

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

A Focus on Fatherhood is Coming to New Jersey

National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has been awarded a contract from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) to strengthen the state’s services to fathers.

Through the provision of training and technical assistance on its flagship 24/7 Dad® program, NFI will help the state’s 175 NJDCF-funded agencies deliver standardized, high-quality services to fathers across the state. This 18-month process will give NJDCF the ability to more effectively measure the impact of fatherhood programming on pro-fathering skills, attitudes, and knowledge in New Jersey.

4 Factors for Successful Father Involvement

Help Us Give a Second Chance to Dads Like Marvin

Parenting is Still a Code Word for "Mothering"

This post was authored by Chris Brown, NFI's Executive Vice President.

I’ve been involved in promoting involved, responsible, committed fatherhood for more than a decade in my role at NFI (and for several years prior to that with the Texas Department of State Health). Although I’ve seen a lot of movement in this country in general and among service providers specifically to recognize the indispensable role fathers play in raising healthy children, I am still amazed when I see evidence of how much more work we still have to do to help people realize that we must "call out" dads specifically rather than simply as part of the monolithic group of parents.

I am even more amazed when I see that some of the most well-known icons in our culture treat dads as second-class parents and, worse, incompetent parents as you might have read recently in this blog about the dad-bashing Huggies® commercials that were revised by the company only after backlash from dads and NFI. But I digress.

One of the most successful parenting programs in the world is called Triple-P Positive Parenting®. Developed by a group of researchers in Australia more than 30 years ago, the program has ample evidence that it helps parents to be, well, better parents. Based on this evidence, the program has expanded across the globe with offices in several countries that are dedicated to spreading the program in those domestic markets. Only recently, however, has the program been examined for separate affects on mothers and fathers, and this is where the story becomes interesting.

Researchers in Australia published a study in a recent edition of the American journal, Fathering, that found that Triple-P is—surprise, surprise—more effective with mothers than fathers. This study of nearly 5,000 parents who participated in the program found a large, positive effect on mothers’ parenting and a much smaller albeit positive effect on fathers’ parenting.

What struck me most, however, was the following finding: only 14 percent of the participating parents were fathers. The real problem here is not so much with the program or its impact—although I would certainly like to see it have the same degree of impact on fathers—it is with the lack of outreach and promotion to get fathers in the door. The Australian government spent more than $5 million to train facilitators in the program to, basically, train moms under the illusion that it would reach both sets of parents.

To be fair, the study found that even when the dad didn’t participate and the mom did, the program reduced the conflict between the couple which, no doubt, improved their parenting. And I have no doubt that the facilitators and the organizations they work for made some attempt to recruit dads into the program. But this is the same problem I see over and over again—a lack of commitment in our culture generally and among service providers specifically to call out dads as dads and not as parents.

Trust me when I say, “Parenting is a code word for ‘mothering.’” Until recently, Parenting magazine's tagline was “What Matters to Moms” (they changed the tagline but not the emphasis on moms). The New York Times parenting blog is called Motherlode.

One of the best ways to make this call to dads is with marketing strategies and materials designed specifically to reach fathers about programs specifically designed for fathers, such as NFI’s 24/7 Dad™ program. Simply making parenting programs “father-friendly” won’t do. I realize that statement might make some folks wriggle in their chair and, perhaps, stand up and shake their finger in disapproval. But also trust me when I say that based on nearly 20 years experience in helping organizations to make this call that it makes a huge difference in showing dads they matter as first-class parents, that they are competent parents.

Dads absolutely appreciate a program that addresses their unique needs because it makes them a better parent. Moreover, it helps service providers to recruit and retain fathers in programs specifically designed to help them be better dads, which, ultimately, helps us to achieve our ultimate goal of improving the lives of children.

Isn’t that what parenting is all about?

The Father Factor Blog: News, tips, and tools for dads and those helping dads.

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