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May 2008Vol. 9, No. 4Key Findings From Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives

Increased sources of funding for responsible fatherhood initiatives, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds, have allowed States to set up programs to help low-income nonresident fathers find better-paying jobs and pay child support consistently. A new issue brief from the Urban Institute examines the lessons learned from five federally funded fatherhood initiatives that were implemented during the 1990s and early 2000s.

The brief provides a description of these initiatives and identifies key findings by program. These initiatives include the Young Unwed Fathers Project, Parents' Fair Share, Welfare-to-Work Grants Program, Responsible Fatherhood Programs, and Partners for Fragile Families.

Although some of the lessons learned differ from program to program, there was a degree of overlap that suggests the need for a comprehensive range of services to help low-income nonresident fathers. These findings include:

  • Low-income fathers and mothers face similar and significant barriers.
  • Recruitment and enrollment are key challenges.
  • Being a good father is important to nonresident fathers.
  • Programs had difficulty establishing specific employment services.
  • Child support-related services are a critical program component.
  • Co-parenting issues need to be addressed.
  • Lack of long-term sustainability inhibits the development of program capacity and innovation.

Ten Key Findings From Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives, by Karin Martinson and Demetra Nightingale, is available on the Urban Institute website: (PDF - 90 KB)

Related Item

More fatherhood resources are available on the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse website: