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How to Help Your City Become More Father-Friendly

Posted by Erik Vecere

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Apr 2, 2024


Imagine if every sector of your city was fully invested in becoming father-friendly.

Imagine how a city-wide fatherhood initiative could mobilize those sectors.

And what if I told you there was a way to jump-start that initiative? A tool that hones in on identifying assets in your city to mobilize?

Meet the Rapid Ethnographic Assessment of Programs (REAPS) for Fathers. It’s a process created by National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) that draws on an anthropological research method that’s particularly helpful when you have limited time and resources and need to act quickly. It gathers information in a rapid but comprehensive fashion. This information hones in on the assets in a community to leverage for mobilizing effectively. These assets include things like the leaders and organizations with a passion for fatherhood and family strengthening and the data critical to securing funding for a city-wide fatherhood initiative.

Laying the Foundation for a Fatherhood Initiative

The REAPS has the following objectives that will lay the foundation for mobilizing your city. It:

  • Identifies the need to increase father involvement.
  • Identifies the services and programs for fathers and the service and program gaps.
  • Identifies the assets in your city to mobilize around responsible fatherhood.
  • Identifies strategies for weaving the promotion of responsible fatherhood into your city’s social fabric.
  • Collects information critical to attracting funds for a sustainable city-wide fatherhood initiative.
  • Recruits leaders for a committee to plan a Leadership Summit on Fatherhood.

The REAPS has the following four components:

  1. Gather secondary data
  2. Create a community assets map
  3. Conduct qualitative research with key informants (leaders) in different sectors
  4. Analysis and report writing

The first component involves compiling secondary (existing) data related to father presence and involvement.

The second component involves mapping the known programs and services for fathers in your city. It also involves mapping the known programs and services for families that serve mothers exclusively, or almost exclusively, that could be expanded to include fathers.

The third component involves gathering qualitative data via research with key informants—typically leaders—in the following 11 sectors:

  1. Government (federal, state, city, county)
  2. Non-profit/human service
  3. Education
  4. Faith
  5. Business
  6. Healthcare
  7. Media/Entertainment
  8. Philanthropic
  9. Civic and cultural groups
  10. Law enforcement
  11. Organic/neighborhood leaders

The fourth component involves the analysis of the information gathered during the first three components and producing a written report. The report will raise awareness in your city of the results and inform an action plan for a city-wide fatherhood initiative to promote responsible fatherhood.

Building on the Foundation

The REAPS is the first of three phases in NFI’s Community Mobilization Approach™ (CMA). The second and third phases build on the foundation the REAPS lays for a city-wide fatherhood initiative. For more details on the CMA, download the free guide How to Mobilize Your City Around Responsible Fatherhood.

NFI developed the CMA in 1999 and has used it to launch multiple community-based fatherhood initiatives as part of statewide initiatives in Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. (Click here for an example of its use in Ohio.) NFI has also used it to launch regional and city-wide initiatives in Atlanta, GA; Milwaukee, WI; Sioux Falls, SD; Prince George’s County, MD; Wapello County, IA; and Allegheny County/Pittsburgh, PA.

Check out this great example of a REAPS created in partnership with the GA Department of Public Health and the Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center.

Has your city ever conducted a needs and assets assessment around becoming father-friendly?

Is there, or has there ever been, a city-wide fatherhood initiative where you live?

How to Mobilize Your City. County, or State Around Responsible Fatherhood

Topics: Fundraising, marketing fatherhood programs, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, Program Recruitment & Retention, Success Stories

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