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How to Deliver NFI Programs Virtually
Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Attention Service Providers:

This webpage serves as official approval from National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) to deliver NFI Programs virtually.

If you require formal approval via email, please email your request to Erik Vecere, NFI Vice President, Program Support at evecere@fatherhood.org.

▶︎ Be sure to download and save our tip sheet for delivering NFI programs virtually...and successfully! Access it here.

Funding note: GrantStation now offers a web page that includes a searchable database of COVID-19 related funding opportunities.

▶︎  Free resource from Wayne State University in collaboration with members of the Metro Detroit Fatherhood Policy Group: Parenting Tips for Dads During COVID-19 Crisis



In light of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the delivery of social service programs, NFI partners have asked how they can continue delivering the 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad®  programs virtually, whether with groups of dads or on-on-one (e.g. case management), and maintain program fidelity, if at all possible.

Most of these partners face one or both of the following situations.

  • They deliver either program in a location(s), other than their organization’s location, that they can no longer enter (e.g. a substance-abuse treatment center, military installation, or correctional facility that’s been locked down).

  • They deliver either program in their organization’s location(s), but that location(s) has shut down and the facilitator(s) must work from home.

In either situation, the facilitator(s) can no longer meet face-to-face with dads.

The guidance below applies whether you facilitate either program or supervise a program facilitator(s) who does.

Technology Set-Up for Virtual Program Delivery


▶︎ Use an online platform (e.g. GoToMeetingZoom, Skype, and Adobe Connect) that allows the facilitator to see and converse with all of the dads in the group (or the dads the facilitator works with one-on-one) and that allows the dads to converse with each other.

    • If the dads are in a location where the facilitator normally facilitates sessions but that the facilitator can no longer enter, have the dads gather in one room while the facilitator video conferences from the facilitator’s location into that room. The room must have a screen large enough for the dads to see the facilitator, and the location must be able to use the same online platform you choose. (If the location uses an online platform, the facilitator could use it instead.)
    • If the dads have been coming to the location in which the facilitator normally facilitates sessions, have each dad video conference in from their home or other location. Ensure that the dads have the ability to use the same online platform you choose. It’s best to use a platform that dads can download onto any computer or mobile device.

▶︎ If the facilitator delivers either program in a correctional or other location that does not allow inmates or residents to access the internet and has its own internal, controlled wi-fi system, work with the location’s staff to address any security and firewall issues that could affect the facilitator’s ability to use video conferencing. You might need to bring in a technology expert to assist with settings that allow virtual facilitation in this situation.

Virtual Program Facilitation


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The facilitator must take adequate time to prepare to facilitate virtually. The facilitator must carefully review the Session Guide in the Facilitator's Manual prior to each session to make sure there aren't any changes the facilitator needs to make in how the facilitator must facilitate it. If the guide says to pair up or break dads into groups of 3 or 4, for example, the facilitator won't be able to do that unless the dads are in the same room.

▶︎ If the facilitator will facilitate with a group of dads who are in the same room, the facilitator can facilitate group activities as if the facilitator were in the same room with them.

▶︎ For activities that involve writing answers on the flip chart, the facilitator can use one of the following techniques, in order of preference. The facilitator might need to alter a technique slightly depending on the online platform you use.

  • Use the virtual whiteboard or other similar function in your online platform that can act as the flip chart or whiteboard the facilitator would normally use. The dads will be able to see the facilitator enter the dads’ responses.
  • The facilitator shares his or her screen, then types dads’ responses into a document (e.g. Microsoft Word) so that the dads can see their responses.
  • The facilitator sets up a flip chart or whiteboard beside or behind them so that the dads can see the dads’ responses and the facilitator writes them down. (The facilitator will have to position the flip chart or whiteboard to ensure the dads can see it.)
  • The facilitator writes dads’ responses on a sheet of paper and then, after the facilitator records all the responses, reads the responses to the dads. 

Incorporating the Fathering Handbook


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To maintain fidelity, dads still need to use the Fathering Handbook. We understand, however, that might not be possible given your situation. If dads cannot use the handbook, it will affect program fidelity. If it won’t be possible to use the handbook, the facilitator must take that into account when preparing to deliver sessions (e.g. skip over portions that require dads to write in the handbook).

▶︎ If the facilitator normally allows dads to keep the Fathering Handbook between sessions, the dads should have it with them. If the facilitator normally keeps the dads’ handbooks in between sessions, the facilitator will need to get the dads’ handbooks to them (e.g. by mail or personal delivery while maintaining social/physical distancing).

NOTE: Because of copyright protection, you cannot photo copy and mail a hard copy of the Fathering Handbook to dads. You are also prohibited from copying, scanning, and emailing an electronic copy of the handbook. 

▶︎ If you would like to have NFI mail handbooks directly to fathers, you may purchase individual fathering handbooks from our store website using a credit card.

  • At checkout, enter your organization's billing information and enter the father's address for shipping. You must place an individual order for each father you want to receive a handbook. You may place as many individual orders as necessary. To order, please visit http://www.fathersource.org

▶︎ To order multiple fathering handbooks via Purchase Order and mail to fathers at their individual locations, you may work directly with our Resource Center Director, Jacquie Hannan, who can place individual book orders on your behalf (using a provided list of individual names and addresses for shipment).

Jacquie Hannan can be reached at 240-912-1263 or jhannan@fatherhood.org.

IMPORTANT SHIPPING & DELIVERY NOTES:

    1. Please ensure that the father's/each father's location is able to receive FedEx® deliveries.

      For example, California is experiencing delivery delays. Check the latest FedEx® COVID-19 service updates here.

    2. If fathers are located in a facility where you would normally conduct a session in person (e.g. substance abuse treatment or correctional facility), ensure fathers are able to receive handbooks at their facility.

      While all NFI fathering handbooks are bound for maximum security standards, there may be facility-based security restrictions around individuals receiving certain types of mail or packages.

    3. Due to shipping delays across the U.S., orders sent to a number of fathers could arrive to them at different times.

      If you plan to run a group session of 24/7 Dad® or InsideOut Dad®, we recommend that you verify receipt of the handbook by each father who will participate and schedule the start date of your group sessions accordingly.

Additional Online Programs and Tools from NFI


NFI offers some additional online resources to help you continue to serve dads during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

  • National Fatherhood Initiative®’s online Fathering in 15™ program builds dads' pro-fathering knowledge, awareness, and skills. It doesn't require in-person contact. Dads can access it from their computer, laptop, or mobile device on-demand. This is an ideal alternative if you cannot deliver 24/7 Dad® or InsideOut Dad®  It’s also an ideal complement to either program (e.g. as homework in between sessions).

  • The free online Father Engagement Learning Community™ is the only nationwide online peer-to-peer learning community for professionals who serve dads. Sponsored by National Fatherhood Initiative, it contains a discussion board dedicated to ideas for serving dads in the midst of this pandemic that professionals have already implemented.