Mobile Toggle

The Father Factor


A Father’s Expression of Love

As we cover in our 24/7 Dad® program, fathers are very capable of learning to be nurturers. One aspect of being nurturing is showing children fatherly affection. That's why this week's post by R.J. Washkow over at The Good Men Project struck a chord with me and I asked for permission to share it here.  

My father has always hugged me. And I never really thought about how much it meant to me until I saw this article. It's true that many fathers today need help to understand that hugging their child every day is an easy and meaningful way to connect with their children, and helps them feel loved and secure. 

As R.J. Washkow states, "...there is no greater comfort to a child than being hugged by the person they trust and respect with all their heart. This simple action speaks volumes that words never could."

Read more about this simple yet powerful fatherhood tool.

How to Overcome 6 Challenges to Recruiting & Retaining Dads

Do you find it a challenge to recruit and retain dads in programs, services, and other efforts? If you do, you’re not alone.

Over the past three weeks in this blog, I provided an overview and details of a stunning evaluation conducted by the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the University of Texas at Austin that shows the positive impact National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7® Dad program has on reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect. This evaluation was part of a broader evaluation by CFRP of the Fatherhood EFFECT program in Texas that is funded by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division.

The evaluation report includes the following challenges for recruitment and retention into EFFECT and how program staff overcame these challenges. You can use the knowledge gleaned to be more successful in your efforts to serve dads. For the most part, I summarize these challenges from the report verbatim. Refer to the report for additional insight on each of the challenges.

5 Facts About Today’s Single Fathers

This article originally appeared on The Institute for Family Studies blog, who partnered with NFI President, Christopher A. Brown, for input on the reason behind the rise in single dads. Click here to read the original article.

In the 2006 film, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a single father who manages to pull himself and his young son out of homelessness by becoming a successful stockbroker. The movie is based on a true story, and we learn early on what drives Gardner when it comes to his son: he did not meet his own father until he was grown, and he’s determined that his children are going to know their father. So when his son’s mother announces plans to move away, Gardner insists, “my son stays with me.” There are some tense moments in the film when it’s easy to question whether it might have been better for the child to go with his mom—like when father and son spend the night on the filthy floor of a train station bathroom. But as we watch Gardner work hard and care tenderly for his son, it becomes clear that there is no better place for the little boy to be than with his dad.

Since the film aired just over a decade ago, it’s become more common for children in single-parent families to live with just their fathers. According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.1% of single-parent households today are headed by fathers—up from 12.5% in 2007.

Overall, most U.S. children still live with two parents, while 27.1% live with one parent—most with their mothers, who still account for the overwhelming majority of single-parent families. Even so, as the figure below shows, the share of children living with a single father has increased from about 1% of all children in the 1960s to 4.35% in 2017.

In an email, Christopher Brown, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), told me that the rise in single-father families can be attributed to two cultural factors: 1) “Men are seen as more capable parents, in general, and accepted as single fathers, specifically,” and 2) “A greater willingness of the courts to award custody to single fathers—essentially awarding custody to the best parent, regardless of gender.”

So, what are some of the characteristics of today's single dads? Here are five facts about single-father families that provide a glimpse into who they are and how they differ from single-mother families.

What Do 584 Dads Say About 24/7 Dad® Building the Characteristics of Great Dads?

For the past two weeks in this blog, I’ve shared the results of a stunning evaluation conducted by the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the University of Texas at Austin that shows the positive impact of National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad® program. Two weeks ago, I provided an overview of the evaluation results. Last week, I shared what the evaluation found on the program’s impact on reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

This week, I share more detail on what the evaluation adds to the evidence-base on the program’s ability to build pro-fathering attitudes, knowledge, and self-efficacy in the skills needed to be a 24/7 Dad.

How to Find Out if Your Organization is Father Friendly

Prior to working with NFI, I worked in a marketing firm whose client base included Microsoft. I was part of the marketing help desk, which assisted Microsoft Partners with their marketing strategy. One of the best offers we always suggested that these Partners make to their prospective clients was a “Free Software Assessment”.

This allowed the Partner to assess the client's whole system of software, how it’s being used, where it lacks efficiency, and how the client could improve. The goal was to help the client run their business in the most efficient manner possible and get the most “bang” for their buck. 

In my current world of everything fatherhood skill building, I liken our free Father Friendly Check-Up™ to that Free Software Assessment. It's NFI's chief tool used by thousands of organizations to assess their father friendliness. Because, how can you improve how you serve fathers if you don’t know where to begin?

Join me as I share why taking the check-up is important and how it’s used. 

What Do 645 Dads Say About 24/7 Dad® Reducing Risk of Child Abuse and Neglect?

Last week in this blog, I provided an overview of a stunning evaluation conducted by the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the University of Texas at Austin that shows the positive impact National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad® program has on reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

Stunning Evaluation Shows Impact of 24/7 Dad® on Reducing Chance of Child Abuse and Neglect

The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the University of Texas at Austin just published a report on their independent evaluation of National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad® program that shows the positive impact of the program on reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

What Dads Need to Know to Reenter their Children's Lives


We’re all working toward more involved, engaged fathers for every child. And hopefully, there are more and more dads in communities across our nation grasping their importance and becoming more proactive in fathering their children.

But what happens when dad actually latches on to this idea and has renewed inspiration to be more involved? Then what? Can he just jump right back into his children’s lives? Should they in turn accept him back without question?

Former NFI President Roland Warren recently wrote a blog on Patheos titled 3 Things a Father Must Do to Fix a Communication Problem with a Child. In it, are nuggets of gold for fathers who are ready to reconnect with their child(ren).

[Video] How to Tell Whether Staff Know Your Organization’s Purpose in Serving Dads

Do you know your organization’s purpose in serving dads?

Before you read any further, take a moment to write your answer to that question.

If you struggled to answer, don’t fret. Employees in any organization can struggle to understand the purpose of a specific aspect of their organization (e.g. a service) or the organization as a whole (i.e. its mission)—unless, of course, the organization has a system in place that frequently reinforces purpose in its employees. Alas, many organizations don't.

This post can help.

Maternal Gatekeeping & Why It Matters for Children

The Greeks believed that to enter Hades after death, a person had to cross the River Styx. A payment to the boatman Charon was required to cross the river. Charon was a gatekeeper to the Greek underworld.

A gatekeeper is someone who supervises and maintains boundaries for a person or place. Someone who acts as a gatekeeper of a secured building, for example, monitors the access to this building and makes sure that only authorized or legitimate persons are allowed in. The gatekeeper’s job is to make certain no one enters who will act in ways that hurt the members inside the building, increase the likelihood of a theft, or gain access to information to which they have no right.

Gatekeeping is not always designed to protect people against those who would threaten or hurt them. The courts and public buildings are not the only places gatekeeping occurs. Sometimes people engage in gatekeeping because they believe it is part of their job (as a parent, for example) to look out for a child whom they feel or know can’t protect himself or herself. Gatekeeping thus applies to childcare and the fact that a vital role of parents is to supervise others’ access to their children. One objective of a parent is to allow “in” people who are good influences in the child’s life and keep “out” people who might be harmful.

The 4 Main Ways NFI Measures Impact

It’s easy in life to fail to see the forest for the trees. We can get so caught in the daily aspects of life that we fail to step back and reflect on our lives and the impact we have on others. That’s why all of us need to establish some habit, ritual, or process—such as meditation, prayer, or a walk in the neighborhood—that helps us—indeed that forces us—to reflect frequently. 

That expression and the need to establish a habit of reflection apply to organizations as well.

7 Things You Can Suggest to Dads to Connect with Their Kids

It's likely that the dads you serve have many issues to address in their lives to become more stable, productive, and involved fathers. But often times, dads think they need to do something "big" to connect with their children, when most of the time, it's the little things that add up. 

And, as we always say, children spell love T-I-M-E.

Think about the interactions you have with fathers. Do you give them small steps or ideas they can use to connect with their children daily? 

In this post, I'll share 7 easy things you can share with dads to help them connect with their kids, along with a unique, free resource that helps dads connect with their children by sharing their "favorite things".

How Another Home-Visiting Program Benefits from the Flexibility of 24/7 Dad®

Home-visiting programs continue to reap the benefits of the evidence-based 24/7 Dad® program’s flexibility.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Bornhoft of Child Development Resources (CDR) in Williamsburg, Virginia. Amy is Director of Training for CDR. Part of her role is to oversee the CDR’s home-visiting program that uses the evidence-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) home-visiting model as its foundation.

How Organizations Benefit From Our Father Engagement Experience™

The Father Engagement Experience™ (FEE) has helped many organizations develop concise, accountable plans that address their unique organizational culture, challenges, and resources.

This two-day, in-person strategic planning session facilitated by National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) uses a structured process (e.g. storyboards, Pure Form Thinking, and multi-voting) to help organizations establish goals and identify father-engagement strategies. NFI facilitators further assist by providing insight and recommendations drawn from 23 years of experience partnering with thousands of organizations.

Wise Words From a Program Like Yours: Nurturing Father Engagement

There's a new, compelling video in town that provides tremendous insight into today’s human service environments, and the specific ways we need to be including dads in family services. 

It's titled "Dad's Rock!" and is brought to us by The Children's Bureau featuring The Children’s Trust of Massachusetts and People, Incorporated located in Fall River, MA.

Research indicates children have increased positive outcomes when dads are involved, and yet all too often, agencies struggle to attract fathers to their services, and fathers face unconscious bias that keeps them at arms' length. The professionals in the video share that men do in fact want to be good dads, but they need groups and encouragement to help them through difficult times rather than being excluded. 

Watch this video and hear what these practitioners have to say in "Dad's Rock! Nurturing Father Engagement."

The Father Factor Blog > Everything You Need to Serve Fathers.

Search Our Blog


Free eBook > 5 Questions Every 24/7 Dad Asks

This eBook helps you answer the five important questions around being a great dad.

download ebook