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How to Advance Equity for Fathers in Human Services

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Nov 29, 2022


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that there’s a lack of equity in human services. Our nation’s human service infrastructure does a good job of serving mothers and children but not fathers. This infrastructure creates a lack of incentive to engage and serve fathers. (See this infographic  for the negative impact of this lack of incentive.)

A recent brief  from the federally-funded KEEP Fathers Engaged project identifies four strategies for advancing equity for fathers in human services:

  • Acknowledge and confront the presence of systemic racism and other structural barriers to equity
  • Develop a father-strong approach that acknowledges and respects how fathers’ experiences might influence the type of father they want to be for their children
  • Collect and use data to improve policies and practices
  • Employ culturally responsive and equitable evaluation practices

I encourage you to read the brief to learn more about implementing those strategies.

National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) has two resources that are ideal for helping organizations get started on advancing equity for fathers. The free Father Friendly Check-Up™ assesses how well an organization encourages (or doesn't encourage) father involvement in the activities and programs offered by your organization. It’s a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s culture across four categories:

  • Leadership Development
  • Organizational Development
  • Program Development
  • Community Engagement

The check-up includes instructions on how to score the assessment and use the results to create an action plan with no-cost and low-cost tactics to engage fathers more effectively, thus advancing equity for fathers.

The Father-Friendly Organization Workshop™ in NFI’s Father Engagement Academy™ leverages the check-up as part of an online, on-demand training that helps organizations learn:

  • The importance of approaching father friendliness from a systems perspective
  • Why each of the four assessment categories is vital to an effective assessment of father friendliness
  • Tons of tips to improve father friendliness in each category
  • How eight diverse organizations that used the check-up became more father friendly
  • How to create a “Father-Friendly Action Plan” based on the assessment (template included)

The workshop includes exclusive access to an online version of the check-up that automatically calculates an overall score of father friendliness and scores in each of the four assessment categories.

As you think about how your organization can advance equity for fathers in human services, I encourage you to use these outstanding, helpful resources!

How is your organization advancing equity for fathers in its programs and services?

Have you assessed your organization’s father-friendliness?

Want to learn about how NFI has partnered with one of our nation’s major healthcare systems to advance equity for fathers in healthcare? Read this two-part blog article to learn more. Be on the lookout for an article that we’ll post soon on the encouraging initial results of this project.

Learn more about the Father Engagement Academy by National Fatherhood Initiative

Topics: involved father, free resources, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, father inclusive

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