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The Father Factor


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

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

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

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

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

How Training on NFI Programs Helps Organizations be Creative and Effective

I’m constantly amazed at how much our training can help organizations implement our programs in creative, effective ways. Here is one example...

Community Action of Central Texas (San Marcos, TX) recently purchased the 24/7 Dad® A.M. and P.M. programs for use with Head Start and Early Head Start families and as part of the statewide Texas Home Visiting Program. In addition to taking part in the Texas Home Visiting Program, Community Action serves more than 500 children through its Head Start and Early Head Start efforts in two central Texas counties immediately south of Austin.

I recently conducted a two-day training institute for Community Action on NFI’s 24/7 Dad® programs. It was one of the most challenging institutes I’ve conducted because of how much I had to customize it to help Community Action to, in turn, integrate them into their home visiting, Head Start, and Early Head Start efforts. Community Action will implement the program for use in a group-based setting—the specific setting for which NFI designed it—but will also use some of the activities in the program in a home-based setting in which staff will work with dads one-on-one.

Because no two organizations are alike, our staff doesn’t assume that every organization needs exactly the same training institute. Sure, we have a standard training institute for each program that serves as the foundation for every training institute on that program. Nevertheless, we talk with an organization’s staff about their plans for implementing the program before we finalize the content for each training institute. This approach ensures each organization can implement the program as effectively as possible. 

If an organization plans to implement one of our programs exactly as we designed it to be implemented, we don’t have to customize the training institute much, if at all. In the case of Community Action, however, I worked with Father Engagement Specialist David Bryant and Family/Staff Involvement and Development Director Edith Rivera—both of whom have responsibility for overseeing Community Action’s fatherhood efforts—to customize a significant portion of the training institute that involves practice facilitating the program. (Our two-day training institutes emphasize practice facilitation.)

The reason for this level of customization is David and Edith plan to not only run the programs with groups of fathers, staff that are home visitors will use activities from the A.M. and P.M. programs in their one-on-one work with dads during home visits. (David, Edith, the home visitors, and the home visitors’ supervisors attended the training institute.) The beauty of the programs is their flexibility, including the ability to use them in one-on-one settings. The challenge in those cases, however, is picking which parts of the programs to use and exactly how to modify those parts for the specific one-on-one setting associated with an organization’s fatherhood efforts (e.g. case management within an office setting or working with a dad or couple during a home visit).

Because Community Action had not yet determined exactly which parts of the programs to use and how to use them, I recommended to David and Edith that they practice facilitating a couple of sessions (as co-facilitators given that they’ll co-facilitate the group sessions) and pairs of home visitors select parts of the program they thought would be ideal for use during a home visit and role play delivering those parts during a home visit (i.e. one of the home visitors played the part of the home visitor and the other the part of the dad). David and Edith agreed with this approach, but, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I had no idea whether the approach would work, let alone whether it would help Community Action get started on how to use the programs during home visits. 

Fortunately, the approach worked extremely well. The staff did a fantastic job selecting parts of the programs to use and how to modify them. Some parts required no modification while others required some creative modifications. Because David and Edith were scheduled to meet with the home visitors in the weeks after the training institute to select additional parts of the programs to use, they were off to a great start. The role plays had the effect of helping staff start the process of selecting which parts of the programs to use and how to modify them given the goals of the home visiting program (e.g. covering specific content, such as child discipline) and their knowledge of their one-on-one setting (e.g. how much time they could expect to spend with a dad). They also generated excitement among the home visitors about the potential of the program to help them help families in a new, creative way, thus creating buy-in from staff critical to the effectiveness of the programs.

I’m pleased to report that Community Action has kicked off their fatherhood program with an event attended by some of the families they serve. Check out some of the photos from the event...

I can’t wait to see how their fatherhood program increases the involvement of dads in the lives of their children. This experience was gratifying for me because of the way in which David and Edith helped me understand their needs so I could deliver a valuable training. Moreover, we now have this experience under our belt to use with other organizations that want to use the 24/7 Dad® programs in a one-on-one setting.

If you use or plan to use one of NFI’s programs, I encourage you to consider bringing in one of our staff to deliver a training institute, especially if you use or plan to use them in a unique setting and in novel ways. I also recommend a training institute even if you plan to use one of our programs in the conventional manner. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you use or plan to use an NFI program? Have you received training on the program you use or plan to use?

We have several upcoming trainings, please visit our Training Institutes Page for more information.
  The Father Factor Blog

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

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

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

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

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

mobile county metro jail

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

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

Can't view the video? Watch here.

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

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



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

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

The Father Factor Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


The Father Factor Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can't view the video? Watch here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officer Nunan says of the program:

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

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



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

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

The Father Factor Blog

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. 


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 Father Factor Blog

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.


  • 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.


  • 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 Father Factor Blog


How You and Your Fatherhood Program Can Get Found Online

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

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Get Started by Blogging

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

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

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

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

2) Get Started Using Social Media

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

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

What to do on most social media platforms:

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

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

Getting Started on Facebook

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

Getting Started on LinkedIn

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

Gathering Started on Twitter

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

Getting Started on YouTube

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

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

The Father Factor Blog

Spotlight > TOPS DAD Program in Arizona [Video]

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

tops dad program in Arizona fatherhood program

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

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

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

Here are details about the TOPS DAD program. 

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

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

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

TOPS DAD Program's mission is:

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

Learn more about TOPS DAD Program.

The Father Factor Blog

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.


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.

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

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