Depending on where you look, the term “evidence-based” can have slightly different meanings. Generally speaking, however, it refers to a program that has been found by independent research to affect a change in program participants compared to similar individuals who did not participate in the program.
Researchers refer to program participants as the “intervention group” while referring to non-participants as the “control group.” A program becomes evidence-based when this rigorous approach to evaluating it has shown the change is not likely due to chance but to the impact of the program.
Using an evidence-based designation is important for service providers (e.g. using one makes it easier to compete for funding). It’s also important for dads to know why they should participate in one. Here are two of the primary reasons.
- Trust in the program. A dad can be more certain that the program is going to deliver on its promises. For example, an evidence-based program of National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) called 24/7 Dad® increases dads’ fathering knowledge and improves their fathering attitudes and skills. As a result of the rigorous evaluation of this program, dads who attend the program sessions and apply the lessons they learn can trust that it will help them be better dads and find hope for their own situation as a result.
- Improved family relationships. A dad can be more certain that the program will help him improve the relationships he has with his children and, possibly, the mother of his children. For example, the co-parenting relationship between dads who participate in 24/7 Dad® and the mothers of their children improves. Incarcerated fathers who participate in another NFI program called InsideOut Dad® increase contact with their children while in prison.
Service providers shouldn’t be the only people on the look out for evidence-based programs. Dads should be equally motivated to seek out these programs and know that the time they invest will produce healthier relationships with their children and families.
Are you a dad looking for help? Please visit our Fatherhood Program Locator™ and enter your city and state on the map to find programs and resources in your community.