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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!

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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 Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

Why an Open Entry Program is a Bad Idea

If you run or plan to run a fatherhood program that allows fathers to enter the program after it starts, reconsider that approach. 

Why_an_Open_Entry_Program_is_a_Bad_Idea

Allowing fathers to enter and exit a program at the beginning, middle, or end -- known as "open entry" -- can seem like a practical and compassionate approach to structuring a program. The rationale for such a program is that it offers the flexibility many fathers need (e.g. helps them integrate participation with work and family commitments) and respects their innate knowledge of what they need and will best help them become better fathers. Unfortunately, the best intentions are not indicative of the best approach to working with fathers. Research shows this approach can backfire and actually harm fathers and fatherhood programs.

In a just released practitioner's brief from Mathematica Policy Research that is part of a national evaluation of federally-funded fatherhood programs known as PACT (Parents and Children Together), researchers compared two open-entry fatherhood programs to two "integrated cohort" programs, an approach that requires fathers enter a program at its start and proceed through the entire program together. One way to think of the difference between the two approaches is one is a four-course meal that everyone eats and the other is a buffet from which everyone chooses what they eat.

The similarity in the four programs is they provide the same kind of education on parenting, relationships, and employment in a workshop format. The two integrated cohort programs, however, offer the workshops in a prescribed sequence because the content is integrated. The two open-entry programs, on the other hand, encourage but don't require fathers to attend workshops in a specific sequence. They offer separate workshops that allow fathers flexibility in which ones they attend and when they attend them. This difference makes the latter approach "self-paced." Another difference is in the intensity of the programs. The integrated cohort programs are more intense. Fathers participate daily and, as a result, can receive more total hours of content and complete the program in a shorter amount of time than can the fathers in the open-entry programs. 

Given what I've shared so far about the two types of programs, take a minute to answer this question before you read further: What result(s) for the programs did the researchers compare? 

If you're unfamiliar with the objectives of the PACT evaluation, it might surprise you that they compared overall participation in the programs and retention in the two programs. Perhaps you thought they compared the effect of the programs on knowledge, attitudes, or skills related to father involvement. That's not an incorrect answer, but you're ahead of the game. Researchers will release those data in a future brief/report.

As you undoubtedly know, participation and retention are two of the greatest challenges faced by fatherhood programs. So the focus of this research speaks directly to the impact of these two approaches (program structures) on those pain points. 

If you were surprised by the focus of this research on participation and retention, you might also be surprised by these results:

  • Participation (defined as attending a workshop at least once) in integrated cohort programs was much higher than in open-entry programs.
  • Retention (defined as participation in at least half of a workshop's sessions within the first four months) was much higher in integrated cohort programs than in open-entry programs.

To review the detailed results, click here to download the brief.

To be fair, a number of factors likely affected the results other than the structures of the two approaches, such as the characteristics of the fathers (e.g. fathers in the integrated cohort programs had more challenges than fathers in the open-entry programs); the quality of the content of parenting, relationships, and employment components; and the characteristics and skills of the staff who delivered the workshops. Nevertheless, the differences in participation and retention were so large that it's clear the structure of the approaches affected participation and retention. The fathers in the integrated approach, for example, completed an average of 79 hours of education compared to an average of only 13 hours for the fathers in the open-entry programs. 

Recall that I said you should reconsider an open-entry approach. Whether you use such an approach depends on the goals and objectives of your program, the needs and wants of the fathers you serve or want to serve, and the resources at your disposal. Regardless, if you use a program with integrated content--such as NFI's 24/7 Dad®, InsideOut Dad®, or Understanding Dad® programs--you should use an integrated cohort approach to ensure you will achieve the outcomes the programs can produce.

What goals and objectives do you have for your fatherhood program/effort?

Have you thought through whether your program/effort should use an integrated cohort or open-entry approach to meet its goals and objectives?

The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

What are the Global Challenges to Father Involvement?

The challenge to create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad is underscored by a new report entitled, "The State of the World's Fathers." Recently released by MenCare, a global fatherhood campaign, this unique report provides insight into the challenges we face across the globe to encouraging father involvement.

What are the Global Challenges to Father Involvement? state of the world's fathersAs the report points out, 80% of the world's men will become fathers. We must do everything we can to ensure as many of these fathers as possible are responsibly involved in the lives of their children. With that backdrop, this report:

"...brings together key international research findings along with program and policy examples related to men’s participation in caregiving; in sexual and reproductive health and rights; in maternal, newborn, and child health; in violence and violence prevention; and in child development."

Here are the major findings and six recommendations for increasing father involvement across the globe. I encourage you to download the executive summary and full report to better understand these findings and recommendations. If you work with fathers from countries outside the U.S., you will find this report especially helpful.

Findings

  • Involved fatherhood helps children thrive.
  • Involved fatherhood allows women and girls to achieve their full potential – now and in future generations.
  • Involved fatherhood makes men happier and healthier.
  • Men’s involvement in caregiving is increasing in some parts of the world, but nowhere does it equal that of women.
  • Fathers want to spend more time with their children.
  • Men’s participation and support are urgently needed to ensure that all children are wanted children. 
  • Engaging men – in ways that women want – early on in prenatal visits, in childbirth, and immediately after the birth of a child can bring lasting benefits.
  • Promoting fathers’ involvement must include efforts to interrupt the cycle of violence.
  • Children, women, and men benefit when fathers take parental leave.
  • Men’s greater involvement in care work also brings economic benefits.

Recommendations

  • Create national and international action plans to promote involved, non-violent fatherhood and men’s and boys’ equal sharing of unpaid care work.
  • Take these action plans and policies into public systems and institutions to enable and promote men’s equal participation in parenting and caregiving.
  • Institute and implement equal, paid, and non-transferrable parental leave policies in both public and private sectors, as well as other policies that allow women’s equal participation in the labor force and men’s equal participation in unpaid care work.
  • Gather and analyze data on men’s involvement as fathers and caregivers and generate new evidence from programs and policies that work to transform the distribution of unpaid care, prevent violence against women and against children, and improve health and development outcomes for women, children, and men.
  • Achieve a radical transformation in the distribution of care work through programs with men and boys, as well as with women and girls, that challenge social norms and promote their positive involvement in the lives of children.
  • Recognize the diversity of men’s caregiving and support it in all of its forms.

After you read the report, I'd love to hear from you about how it might have helped you better understand the global challenges we face in encouraging father involvement and how it might help you in your work.

How much do you know about the global challenges to father involvement?

Do you work with fathers from other countries? How do their cultural norms and values hinder or facilitate father involvement?

The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

 

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 stations...you 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 Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

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 Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

Be One of the First Partners in NFI’s Brand New Partner Program

The value you deserve from an NFI partnership is finally here.

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute. Doesn’t NFI already have partners? Doesn’t NFI partner with thousands of programs, organizations, and initiatives across the nation?” In a way, yes, thousands of them use NFI’s fatherhood resources and programs to engage and give dads the knowledge and skills they need.

But here’s the rub. Partnering means different things to different people. Many programs, organizations, and initiatives have expressed a desire through the years for a deeper, more intimate, more valuable relationship with NFI. We heard them, but didn’t have the pieces in place to provide the kind of value they deserved.

Now we have the pieces in place to offer that value.

Read on to learn how you can get in on the ground floor.

partner_page_header

What’s it All About? 

The new NFI Partner Program is ideal for two types/groups:

a)    Fatherhood and family strengthening programs and organizations

b)   Fatherhood and family strengthening initiatives that operate at a city or county level

The NFI Partner Program is a program unlike anything we’ve offered, and works to deepen the connection between NFI and programs, organizations, and initiatives committed to increasing the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. There will be two types of partners:

  • Premier Partners: New and existing fatherhood and family strengthening initiatives who operate at a city or county level. These initiatives are typically multi-sector in nature, and have organizations as participants in the initiative that provide programs and services to fathers. These initiatives can be managed/led by an individual organization (e.g. housed within an organization that acts as a “lead agency”), but they must be a distinct entity that involves other organizations and individuals in the city or county.
  • Partners: Individual organizations, or fatherhood and family strengthening programs within organizations, which are not necessarily part of larger fatherhood or family strengthening initiatives (although they can be) that provide programs and services to fathers. Organizations that do not have a distinct fatherhood or family-strengthening program may provide programs and services to fathers as part of another program that benefits fathers in some capacity (e.g. workforce development, child welfare, etc.).

Click here for more information on eligibility.

Why is becoming an NFI Partner Valuable?

The NFI Partner Program helps address the following pain points (challenges) faced by programs/organizations and initiatives:

  • Securing initial and ongoing funding
  • Engaging the community
  • Proving return on investment (ROI)
  • Aligning with a national organization to take their program to the next level

For programs/organizations, it also provides training on addressing the 5 main pain points faced by organizations and programs in serving fathers. And for initiatives, it also helps ensure ongoing commitment of initiative partners.

Click here to learn more about the value of becoming an NFI Partner or Premier Partner.

How Does it Deliver Value?

The NFI Partner Program offers a benefits package that helps initiate and sustains father-focused efforts of programs, organizations, and initiatives, by leveraging a combination of unique partnerships NFI has developed with companies. Partners of NFI will also benefit from NFI’s overall and individual brands and other assets.

How Many Partners Does NFI Seek?

To begin, we’re seeking 10 Partners (organizations or programs within organizations) and 5 Premier Partners who will be designated Charter Partners and Charter Premier Partners.

Partners in this initial group will be the only partners ever to receive the “Charter” designation. We won’t open the program to other potential partners until some time next year.

Why Such a Small Group?

We’re committed to starting this program off on the right foot. We won’t bite off more than we can chew. We also want to begin by partnering with a select group who are completely committed to making a difference in the lives of children, fathers, and families.

Becoming an NFI Partner isn’t for any program, organization, or initiative. It’s for those that are truly committed to the cause of addressing father absence.

What’s the Next Step?

Apply to become a Charter Partner. Download the Request for Partnership (RFP) for the type of partner you’d like to become. (An entity can qualify for both types of partners if it meets the eligibility requirements of each type.)

Learn more about the Partner Program benefits here, or head over here to download the RFP's.

Spotlight > The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood [Video]

Several groups in Ohio are doing amazing work to connect fathers and families, and we think you should know about them. The following post and video describe the exciting, state-wide work being done by the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood.

Keep reading to be inspired by Ohio. You could do something similar for fathers (and children) in your state or county.

testfatherhoodlogo

The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood is a state-wide commission housed within the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Their mission is to enhance the well-being of Ohio's children by providing opportunities for fathers to become better parents, partners and providers.

As the lead agency for the Commission, they offer training and guidance to help county organizations design programs to engage fathers and promote responsible parenting. This gives organizations across the state a solid support system for intentionally offering programs and services for fathers.

In fact, the groups you see on this video came together because Ohio brought in NFI to conduct our Community Engagement and Mobilization Planning Approach, helping to rally Ohio state organizations around fatherhood in a cohesive way. In the video you'll see NFI's very own Erik Vecere facilitating the planning sessions.

View the full video here.

What is the goal of the Ohio County Fatherhood Initiative? 

"We believe we can raise the level of father involvement, creating opportunities to train fathers so they can be engage in employment." —Burl Lemon, Executive Director “Forever Dad” Muskingum County

“One of the biggest things is community mapping and being able to get some insight in terms of how our county is laid out, what the initiatives that already exist in our county are, so that we are not reinventing the wheel, and actually be able to map out where the different agencies are, community partners, and who our key stakeholders are in our county to be able to launch this initiative." —Ann Ream, Director of Protective Services, Summit County Children Services

Why participate in the Ohio County Fatherhood Initiative?

“Weve allowed fathers to take a back seat and I think what this will do will heighten the awareness of the tremendous value that a father plays in a child's life. And because of that, our communities are betterour countrys better." —Kelly Lynch, Executive Director, Guernsey County Children’s Service

"On a bigger level, its been able to connect me as a stakeholder with childrens services, with our county leadership, and to know that this is an initiative that is important on both the local and state and federal level and what a concern it is a problem I think we all own…but the solution we can all own as well.” —Ann Ream, Director of Protective Services, Summit County Children Services

“When you help a dad, youre really helping out the whole family. Its not just a moms versus dads thing. If you help the dad get his act together, then he can be a better father and then also be a little bit more cooperative with the mother, so it helps everybody. —Michael Newsom, Social Program Coordinator, Montgomery County

Would you recommend other counties to participate? 

“I would recommend this training to others. Its unfortunate that everybody cant be a part of this. So Im very fortunate to be a part of todays session here. I think its important to know how to mobilize one another in your community and at a state level too." —Ann Ream, Director of Protective Services, Summit County Children Services

I think it would be a good program for business leaders. I think it would be a good program for civic leaders and government officials. I think it would be an excellent for service providers and a cross-spectrum of people who are working with families.” —James McDonald, Director of Muskingum Counseling Center

Interested in mobilizing your community? Visit here for more information on bringing responsible fatherhood training to life in your community. Read more about how we work with state/county initiatives here

Tell us > What would you like to see your county or state do for fathers?

The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

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

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

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

broken-bike

If you, the fatherhood facilitator, only use the Fathering Handbooks and not the Facilitator's Manual, you and the fathers in your program are missing out on the experiential activities that reinforce the key concepts of the program. You, the leader, must be intentional about going to the Facilitator’s Manual to find the 2 sections that are critical for maximum impact of the program: the Program Guide and the Session Guide.

The Program Guide provides the background on what you need to truly understand the program. This includes what you're facilitating (e.g. conceptual development, philosophy, values, and principles) and how to implement and evaluate it.

The instructions in the Session Guide bring the program to life through activities that raise awareness and build the knowledge and skills fathers need to be involved, responsible, committed. In short, if you aren't using the Facilitator's Manual with our programs, you're wasting the single most important tool in your fatherhood program. I say this because, in my over a decade of experience working at NFI and talking with fatherhood leaders, I know that if you don't use the Facilitator's Guide, you won't see the results you want to see and your sessions won't resonate with the dads you're serving as well as they could.

If you have the Facilitator’s Manual, but haven’t been using it, I strongly recommend you use it to prepare and deliver each session. If you don’t have the Facilitator’s Manual, you can order a complete 24/7 Dad® kit or InsideOut Dad® kit.

I also recommend downloading these free guides designed to help you maximize the impact of your program(s): A Guide To Implementing 24/7 Dad® with Fidelity and A Guide to Implementing InsideOut Dad® with Fidelity.

The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

How to Effectively Engage Fathers: The 5th Competency

Funding. Funding. Funding. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about recruitment and retention as being the bane of practitioners’ existence. That’s only half the story. The other half of practitioners’ bane, if you will, is funding fatherhood programs.

fundraising 

This post is the fifth and final in a weekly series in which I highlight the five core competencies you need to effectively engage fathers, and how you can develop each competency with NFI’s Father Engagement CertificateTM (FEC), an affordable on demand training that will help you develop those competencies.

Click here to read the post on the 1st competency: How to Create a Father-Friendly Organization

Click here to read the post on the 2nd competency: How to Design a Best Practice Fatherhood Program

Click here to read the post on the 3rd competency: How to Think Like a Marketer

Click here to read last week’s post on the 4th competency: How to Involve Moms 

Fundraising

The key to raising funds to start and maintain a fatherhood program is identifying diverse funding sources and securing funds from those sources that, when combined, provide multiple funding streams. All too often practitioners and organizations rely on one or two funding sources, which places the program at risk when those sources dry up as most eventually do. And all too often they’re involved in “crisis fundraising” that is reactive rather than proactive.

The fifth competency in effectively engaging fathers centers around the development of a well thought out, comprehensive Fund Development Plan for your fatherhood program that involves:

  • Identifying and securing of funds for the program.
  • How to position the fatherhood program within a larger context (i.e. related issue such as child abuse prevention).

Such a plan: 

  • Focuses on activities/tactics for raising funds.
  • Answers:
    • How you will identify funding sources?
    • How you will secure funds from sources?
    • Who will help identify and secure funds?
  • Limits crisis fundraising by:
    • Identifying opportunities to meet current program needs.
    • Identifying opportunities to meet future program needs.

To create an effective plan, you need to learn how to research, select, and engage (initially and ongoing) individual donors and other funding sources (e.g. family foundations). 

FEC Session 5: How to Develop a Funding Plan for a Fatherhood Program

This session helps you think through how you will fund your fatherhood program, and covers 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, sustainable fatherhood program.

Click Here to Start Your Father Engagement Training

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Don’t delay. Click here to start the process of earning your Father Engagement Certificate

Do you have a funding plan for your fatherhood program?

Does your plan include current needs and anticipate future needs?

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic]

NFI stretches your dollars through our capacity-building approach.

Every child deserves a 24/7 Dad. From free fatherhood resources to fatherhood products, programs and trainings, your donation supports our mission.

In fact, our free fatherhood resources now out number the products and resources we sell in our store. Today, we have 105 free resources that can be downloaded, read, watched, and reviewed. For instance, our free resource The Ultimate Guide to Connecting with Your Child has been downloaded almost 5,000 times! That's 5,000 fathers that are now armed with questions they can ask their child to generate meaningful conversations.

Just as we exist to create more involved dads, we serve fatherhood programs and organizations. Your donation also helps us create free resources for fatherhood leaders and organizations. Basically, you can think of us as a Cisco Systems or IBM of the family-strengthening arena. Just like IBM helps other businesses and governments build their technology infrastructures, we help other organizations and governments build their family-strengthening infrastructures.

Let's look at the problem of father absence, what NFI does to remedy this problem, and just how much your support truly matters...

How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

The Root

How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

One out of three American children live without their dad. That’s 24 million children, enough to populate New York City three times! These children are in every community, including your own. You can help these children by ensuring your dollars have maximum impact on child well-being.

How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org new york city nyc

NFI Connects Fathers and Children

How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

  • We are the go-to source for thousands of organizations to obtain effective fatherhood training, programs, and other resources.
  • We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization relying on contributions from individuals and foundations to improve child well-being and prevent father absence.
  • NFI builds the capacities of those organizations to offer programs and services for dads, moms, and families.

NFI's Partners Include:

6-military-icon How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org
Military > 
All branches of the U.S. Military, National Guard, and Reserve Units

 

corrections prison jail How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.orgCorrections > State, county, and private prisons/jails; Federal Bureau of Prisons; and state, county, and local reentry programs.

 

8-agency-icon How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org state local county government agency

State and Local/County Agencies > Health and Human Services; maternal and child health and welfare programs; and child abuse prevention organizations.

 

9-community-based-icon How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.orgCommunity-Based Organizations > Community action agencies; head start and healthy start programs; grassroots fatherhood and family service organizations; and schools.

We track our success and impact through: U.S. Census data; program and project evaluations; number of resources distributed and organizations trained; and case studies, stories of impact and testimonials.

NFI’s Impact:

More than 7 Million NFI RESOURCES have been distributed to dads and momsNFI programs are used in all 50 states, Washington D.C, and U.S. Territories. 

NFI has trained more than…

  • 6,300 Organizations In-Person
  • 14,100 Staff In-Person
  • 15,000 Staff Online
10-NFI-impact-7-million How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

 

A child raised with a dad is:

  • 4X less likely to live in poverty
  • 2X more likely to graduate high school
  • 7X less likely to become or get someone pregnant as a teen
  • 2X less likely to have emotional or behavioral problems
  • 7X less likely to be incarcerated as an adult
11-child-raised-with-dad-image stats fatherless home stats research How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

NFI stretches your dollar through our national network that reaches into your backyard.

Fathers matter. Your support matters.

Begin making a difference for children everywhere. 
Donate today. Visit fatherhood.org/donate

12-NFI-donate-today-cta How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

Click here or anywhere on the infographic to enlarge, download or share.

Stretch-Your-Dollars-For-Children-with-NFI How to Stretch Your Dollars for Children [Infographic] donate to fatherhood.org

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

How to Effectively Engage Fathers: The 4th Competency

Mom and dad don’t get along. Maybe they hate each other. Perhaps there is, unfortunately, a history of abuse in the relationship. Mom might not even realize that she restricts dad’s access to his children. Do any of these descriptions ring true in your work with fathers, mothers, families?

stressed-mom

This post is the fourth in a weekly series in which I highlight the five core competencies you need to effectively engage fathers, and how you can develop each competency with NFI’s Father Engagement CertificateTM (FEC), an affordable on demand training that will help you develop those competencies.

Click here to read the post on the 1st competency: How to Create a Father-Friendly Organization

Click here to read the post on the 2nd competency: How to Design a Best Practice Fatherhood Program

Click here to read last week’s post on the 3rd competency: How to Think Like a Marketer 

Involving Moms in Promoting Father Involvement

Our country has a remarkable structure that addresses the health and well-being of women, mothers, and children. While there are certainly issues with that structure and areas for improvement, there’s no debate about the lack of a structure that addresses the well-being of men and fathers. 

Unfortunately, fathers are most often the parent left out of the parenting equation when organizations implement parenting and family-strengthening programs. To be fair, fathers are often reluctant to avail themselves of these programs; nevertheless, organizations typically don’t make a concerted effort to reach them. Consequently, “parent” is a code word for “mom” from many fathers’ perspective. Organizations fail to speak directly to the needs and wants of fathers.

Fatherhood programs can’t make the same mistake—that is, leave moms out of the equation when it comes to implementing a fatherhood program. But wait, you might say: What do moms have to do with implementing a fatherhood program? A lot. 

Mothers are often the gatekeepers when it comes to fathers’ access to their children. Mothers can facilitate or hinder fathers’ involvement, particularly when fathers are non-residential or non-custodial. Even when mothers and fathers are romantically involved and living in the same home, mothers can unconsciously and unnecessarily restrict fathers’ access to their children.

That’s why it’s vital that you learn how to go the extra mile and build the fourth competency in effectively engaging fathers in Session 4 of the Father Engagement Certificate training: How to Work with Moms to Encourage Father Involvement.

This session covers the “why” and “how” to involving moms in encouraging father involvement. Learn about the “Five Aspects of Family Life” associated with father involvement, and how to use “intensity levels” to assess how you should approach involving moms. Also learn why training female staff to more effectively engage fathers is so important, and about a free resource from NFI that will help you train female staff to more effectively engage fathers.

Click Here to Start Your Father Engagement Training

FEC_training_logo

Don’t delay. Click here to start the process of earning your Father Engagement Certificate

How much do you know about the impact of mothers in ability of the fathers you serve to be as involved as possible in the lives of their children?

Do you know the typical behaviors associated with “restrictive gatekeeping?”

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

How to Effectively Engage Fathers: The 3rd Competency

Is marketing the same thing as outreach? Is marketing the same thing as promotion? Is marketing the same thing as sales? How should an organization market a program or service differently to fathers compared to mothers? Those are tough questions to answer, which is why understanding how to think like a marketer is so vital to effectively engaging fathers.

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This post is the third in a weekly series in which I highlight the five core competencies you need to effectively engage fathers, and how you can develop each competency with NFI’s Father Engagement CertificateTM (FEC), an affordable on demand training that will help you develop those competencies.

Click here to read the post on the 1st competency: How to Create a Father-Friendly Organization, and here to read last week’s post on the 2nd competency: How to Design a Best Practice Fatherhood Program.

Thinking Like a Marketer 

Recruitment and retention are the bane of many practitioners’ existence. I can’t tell you how many folks have approached me over the years with tales of woe when it comes to recruiting fathers to enroll in a program and to maintain their participation after enrollment. 

Unfortunately, successful recruitment and retention are not simply a matter of cutting and pasting tactics that have worked for other programs. While you can certainly borrow some tactics that might work in your situation, every program must learn on its own what works to effectively recruit fathers and maintain their participation. What will work for your program will likely be a combination of what has worked elsewhere and what’s unique for your fathers in your setting. You also have to understand the difference between how to get fathers to enroll in a program and how to get them to stay after enrollment.

For those reasons and others, learning how to think like a marketer is the third competency to effectively engaging fathers. Marketing a fatherhood program involves:

  • Learning how to think logically and creatively.
  • Learning key behavior-change theories and their role in motivating fathers.
  • Learning how the “marketing mix” impacts the design of a marketing campaign.
  • Understanding the role today’s technology plays in reaching and keeping fathers engaged.
  • Understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Understanding that marketing requires time and patience to do correctly.

That’s why Session 3 of the Father Engagement Certificate helps you learn How to Think Like a Marketer When Marketing a Fatherhood Program. It covers important behavior-change theories and how they contribute to marketing a fatherhood program, the role of the marketing mix in marketing a fatherhood program (the 7Ps of marketing a fatherhood program), and the role of technology in promoting a fatherhood program.

Click Here to Start Your Father Engagement Training

FEC_training_logo

Don’t delay. Click here to start the process of earning your Father Engagement Certificate

Do you know how to think like a marketer?

How easy or difficult is it for your program to recruit fathers and maintain their participation?

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

Study Lays Evidence Base for 24/7 Dad®

An ongoing study in Hawai‘i using an experimental design has found that NFI’s 24/7 Dad® program develops pro-fathering knowledge and attitudes and the five characteristics of the 24/7 Dad. It also improves behaviors expected of today’s contemporary fathers, the quality of father-child relationships, and fathers’ co-parenting, thus improving fathers’ relationships with the mothers of their children. This study lays the evidence base for the program.

Study Lays Evidence Base for 24/7 Dad® university of hawaii center on the familyA research team at the Center on the Family at the University of Hawai‘i led by Dr. Selva Lewin-Bizan evaluated the program by randomly assigning fathers to treatment and control groups. Fathers in the treatment group participated in 24/7 Dad® while fathers in the control group did not. Random assignment is considered the “gold standard” of research design because it reduces selection bias, thus the likelihood that outcomes are due to chance rather than the intervention.

In addition to this research design, what makes this study so important is the research team found the program improved not only fathers’ pro-fathering knowledge and attitudes, it improved father involvement, the quality of the father-child relationship, and the quality of the father-mother relationship, as measured by improvements in co-parenting. Affecting knowledge and attitudes is important, because they are antecedents of behavior, but positively affecting them doesn’t necessarily lead to behavior change. This study found behavior change within the two most important relationships of fathers that are the primary focus of the program. 

And that’s not all. The program also affected fathers’ happiness in being a parent. Fathers reported being happier as a parent after completing the program. Moreover, the improvements in father involvement and co-parenting were held over time. 

Dr. Lewin-Bizan employed several evaluation tools with fathers in both groups to compare the impact of the program. These tools included the pre- and post-survey that is part of the 24/7 Dad® program (measures pro-fathering knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy related to the five characteristics of the 24/7 Dad) and several previously validated instruments that measure fathers’ involvement with their children, fathers’ self perception of their parenting role, co-parenting, and fathers’ degree of happiness in being a parent. Her team administered all of the instruments before and immediately after the program ended, and administered the father involvement and co-parenting instruments at a six-week follow up. 

This study adds to a number of studies on the positive impact and effectiveness of 24/7 Dad® in a variety of settings and with racially and ethnically diverse fathers of all ages. To download this study and others, click here.

The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

How to Effectively Engage Fathers: The 2nd Competency

Quickly…name three best practices in designing effective fatherhood programs. Cat got your tongue? If so, you’re not alone. Answering that question is about as hard as scoring a 2400 on the SAT.

fatherhood_program_best_practices

This post is the second in a weekly series in which I highlight the five core competencies you need to effectively engage fathers, and how you can develop each competency with NFI’s Father Engagement CertificateTM (FEC), an affordable on demand training that will help you develop those competencies.

Click here to read last week’s post on the 1st competency: How to Create a Father-Friendly Organization

Best Practices

The second competency in effectively engaging fathers is the ability to design a fatherhood program (or service) based on the practices that have the most impact on program success. These practices—commonly referred to as “best practices”—provide the foundation or structure for effectively engaging fathers regardless of your experience serving fathers, the kinds of fathers you serve, or the setting in which you serve them. 

What, exactly, are best practices? Simply put, they’re successful, community-invented efforts (culturally relevant) worth emulating. They tell you:

  • Exactly what needs to be done differently.
  • What’s working and how you can do more of it.

Furthermore:

  • They’re identified through observation.
  • They provide direction, hope, and motivation around change.
  • They address root causes and challenge conventional wisdom.
  • They avoid “analysis paralysis” by taking focus off “the problem” and putting it on “the solution.”
  • They create positive, short- and long-term change.

But it’s not just enough to learn these practices and how to apply them. It’s also vital that you know the “blind spots” that hinder organizations in effectively serving fathers. You need to know what they are and which ones are most relevant to your organization so you can avoid being blindsided by them. 

Thus, Session 2 of the Father Engagement Certificate covers Program Design Using 7 Best Practices. This session provides you with a simple, flexible approach based on seven best practices to design an exceptional, unique, community-based fatherhood program. Learn about blind spots that hinder organizations in creating effective fatherhood programs, resources NFI has designed to help organizations leverage and unlock the power of the best practices, as well as other best practices that might be right under your nose.

Click Here to Start Your Father Engagement Training

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Don’t delay. Click here to start the process of earning your Father Engagement Certificate

What does your organization do really well in serving fathers that you should do more often?

What are the biggest hurdles your organization must leap to become as successful as possible in serving fathers?

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

Dads Graduate Fatherhood Pilot Program in McNairy Co Jail, Selmer, Tenn [Video]

It's that time of year, the time for graduation speeches and shaking hands for a job well done. As students across the nation are receiving certificates for their accomplishments, here are gentlemen getting a different certificate for walking the line. Reporting from Selmer, Tennessee, ABC WBBJ Eye Witness News 7 Journalist Katie Shambo shows a graduate program of a different kind—but filled with even more sense of accomplishment and purpose.

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You can read the original post Dads Graduate from Pilot Program in McNairy Co Jail. Coverage and excerpts from the original story follows in this post.

It's Wednesday morning, and the McNairy County Jail is holding its first graduation for its fatherhood pilot program. "The sheriff said that I don't have to come back and that really stuck with me," inmate and InsideOut Dad® graduate Joseph Lands, says. Shambo reports, Lands has been working toward this day since September.

"The sheriff said that I don't have
to come back and that really stuck with me."
—Joseph Lands (InsideOut Dad® graduate)


"It means the world. I mean without a second chance we'd be dead in the water we wouldn't have a leg to stand on and this gives us an opportunity to be a better person to be a productive member of society," says Land.

Shambo says Lands is one of five inmates who make up the McNairy County Jail's first graduating class of the Inside Out Dad® program. As NFI readers know, the program was established to help incarcerated fathers with fatherhood and parenting skills along with other resources and opportunities that will help them when they're released.

"It's a curriculum to help them be better fathers, to help them be better husbands, to help them be better leaders of their families and be better in the workforce," director Jimmy Bell said. Each year 700,000 people are released from jails and prisons and within three years more than two-thirds of them are back behind bars.

"It's a curriculum [InsideOut Dad®]
to help them be better fathers,
to help them be better husbands,
to help them be better leaders of their families
and be better in the workforce."
—Jimmy Bell, 
Director


For some, jail is a time to rethink, refocus and make the necessary steps not to re-offend and that's what the Inside Out Dad® program is designed to do. "Knowing that people care it helps out a lot. I mean it makes you want to strive to be a better person it's a good thing," Lands said.

Shambo points out that Lands has a 10-year-old daughter. Lands has been in and out of jail six times, but with his new skills and resources, "this will be my last," he says.

Director Jimmy Bell says that "in addition to helping the men be better dads they are now prepared to support their families." "They all have a resume now," says Bell, "They also now have a desire to leave a life of crime behind."

"They all have a resume now...
they also now have a desire
to leave a life of crime behind."
—Jimmy Bell, Director


Shambo reports 
The Southwest Human Resource Agency plans to implement the program in seven more West Tennessee County jails by July 1. In McNairy County, they will also begin a similar program for women in July.

Watch the video that follows about the first fatherhood program in McNairy County, Selmer, Tennessee. Learn about how these men are set to walk a different path—a path leading back to their families. Make no mistake about it, there may not be institutional columns or caps and gowns in this video, but among the prison bars and orange jail suits, these men are no longer called by their inmate number. They are called by their new names...24/7 Dads.


Can't view the video? Watch the full video and interview about the Inside Out Dad® Program in this Tennessee Pilot Program here.

Visit us for more information on the Inside Out Dad® Program or register for our upcoming webinar training for InsideOut Dad® happening June 25th. Get the official 24/7 Dad® t-shirt for you or the group you lead here

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The Ultimate Guide to Connecting With Your Child

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