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Three Fatherhood Services That Provide Massive Gains

Posted by Erik Vecere

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

May 14, 2024


If patience comes easy for you, raise your hand.

If not, don’t worry. I didn’t raise mine, either.

While I can be impatient over many things—especially if there’s a new guitar I’m eyeing—I’ve learned to find joy in the often lengthy process of attaining life’s larger goals.

In Brad Stulberg's book, The Practice of Groundedness, he states, “If you rush the process or expect results too swiftly, you’ll end up repeatedly disappointed. The larger and more meaningful the endeavor, the more that patience is important.”

He continues, “The truth about progress is this: when you don’t rush the process, when you take small and consistent steps over time, you give yourself the best chance to end up with massive gains. Small and consistent victories compound over time.”

This is especially true with engaging fathers.

It takes organizations time to lay the foundation for including fathers effectively. That’s because so many have cultures that don’t support father inclusion, don’t have strategic plans for father inclusion, or possess a framework to mobilize their community around father inclusion.

National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) has three Collaborative Services that can help you establish a firm father-inclusive foundation.

  1. The Father Engagement Experience™ (FEE) is a two-day strategic planning process that helps agencies and organizations develop customized goals, objectives, and actions around father engagement.
  2. The Father-Readiness Network Assessment™ (FRNA) is a unique, proprietary form of technical assistance that allows a network of agencies connected by a common thread (e.g., program or mission) to assess that network’s readiness to engage fathers in programs and services at the micro and macro-levels (i.e., individual agency and network-wide levels). It allows NFI to aggregate and disaggregate the assessment results by, for example, each agency, combinations of agencies (e.g., those that operate in different communities), program focus (e.g., type of program used), and any number of other variables. As a result, NFI can customize the assessment results so that they’re most useful for the entity with oversight of the network.
  3. The Community Mobilization Approach™ (CMA) consists of three phases: (1) a needs and assets assessment of the community’s ability to promote responsible fatherhood; (2) a Leadership Summit on Fatherhood attended by community leaders; and (3) implementing an action plan for a fatherhood initiative that uses NFI resources and solutions generated by the community.

Using one or any combination of these Collaborative Services will help you take “consistent steps” that produce “massive gains” over time.

More than 40 city, county, and state entities have partnered with NFI to implement one or more of these Collaborative Services. I’ve highlighted one from each of these services.

The FEE. The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Florida, held an FEE to create a Countywide Fatherhood Collaborative. JWB customized the FEE to establish the Collaborative’s mission, purpose, and priorities. JWB is building the infrastructure for the Collaborative and has hired a father-focused Community Collaborations Coordinator. JWB is working with the Collaborative’s Steering Committee to continue structuring the overall Fatherhood Collaborative.

The FRNA. The Kansas Department for Children & Families (DCF) conducted an FRNA to assess their local offices and used the results to guide DCF’s next steps for a statewide fatherhood initiative. To conduct the assessment, NFI deployed the online version of the Father Friendly Check-Up™ (FFCU) for staff from local DCF offices to use in assessing how ready each office was to include fathers. Staff representing all DCF regions, staff types, and program types completed assessments. NFI provided a report to DCF that summarized the results and provided recommended next steps. As a result of the FRNA, DCF formed a Fatherhood Initiative Workgroup and established new father-friendly policies and procedures. DCF’s local sites received technical assistance in creating their own Father-Friendly Action Plans.

The CMA. The Georgia Department of Public Health used the CMA to establish the framework of its Strong Fathers, Strong Families Georgia Coalition (SFSF). Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center (MSM PRC), an academic partner/member of SFSF, served as the lead agency for the CMA. An outgrowth of the CMA was the Fathers Matter Atlanta initiative that’s mobilizing metro Atlanta around responsible fatherhood. A multi-sector team of leaders in the community, academia, and health and human services worked together to establish the following strategies: 

  • Connecting fathers to resources and to each other
  • Improving relationships (e.g., between men and institutions and between co-parents)
  • Supporting inner healing
  • Addressing mass incarceration
  • Implementing father-friendly policies with the Fathers Matter Atlanta partners

If you want to discuss implementing one or more of NFI’s Collaborative Services, contact me at evecere@fatherhood.org to schedule a video chat.

Which of the three Collaborative Services would be most valuable to your organization?

Why did you select that Collaborative Service?

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

Topics: community mobilization, community leaders, fatherhood program planning, fatherhood leaders, marketing fatherhood programs, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, Program Recruitment & Retention, Success Stories

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