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February 2004Vol. 5, No. 1Involving Fathers and Their Families Through Family Group Decision Making

Historically, non-custodial fathers have been disengaged from the child welfare system. The advent of ASFA and recent Federal initiatives focused on fatherhood, however, have resulted in new efforts on the part of the child welfare system to encourage the involvement of fathers and other paternal relatives. American Humane focuses on fathers and their families in a recent issue of Child Protection Leader (

The article highlights family group decision making (FGDM) as one avenue for encouraging paternal involvement. FGDM is relatively new, but research suggests that it results in increased involvement of non-custodial fathers and their families. The article suggests that by utilizing a framework that acknowledges both the importance of fatherhood and the barriers that prevent paternal involvement, professionals can work to maximize father and paternal family involvement to best serve the needs of children.

Related Items

American Humane is home to the National Center on Family Group Decision Making (, which provides training, information, and resources related to FGDM.

Read more about FGDM and fatherhood in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Positive Results for Family Group Decision Making" (September 2003)
  • "Literature Review Explores Non-Custodial Fathers' Involvement in Child Welfare" (April 2003)