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October 2010Vol. 11, No. 8Meeting CFSR Standards of Father Involvement

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) has developed a new guide, Father Involvement—Meeting CFSR Standards, designed to help child welfare agencies improve their practice and outcomes regarding fathers' involvement with their children and their children's cases.

While the Federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR)—which assesses each State's compliance with Federal child welfare standards—has no specific measure for father involvement, there are four relevant items under Child Well-Being Outcome I. Currently, completed CFSRs indicate that States are receiving poor ratings in the area of father involvement.

NFPN's guide provides the following answers to the question, "What can be done to help States improve their practice and outcomes?"

  • Assessment: An agency must first understand its current response to fathers, which can be done through an organizational assessment or by asking workers to complete an assessment form on father involvement.
  • Motivation and Training: Anticipating that organizational and worker assessments of father involvement will need improvement, administrators can plan a kickoff event with a motivational fatherhood speaker and soon after schedule the first training for workers.
  • Engaging Fathers: Workers can engage fathers by explaining how father involvement positively affects child development, helping fathers select child-appropriate activities, and connecting fathers to male-oriented supports and services.
  • Reinforcement and Instilling Cultural Change: Administrators can reinforce positive changes and make them a regular part of the agency culture by having additional training and developing processes and policies that make father involvement an integral part of agency culture.
  • Sustainability: An agency must integrate its good practice into the agency's core components.

The guide also describes how Kansas increased assessment of the fathers' needs, services for fathers, involvement of fathers in the case planning process, and the quality and frequency of the visits between the caseworker and the father.

The guide's appendices offer tools for increasing father involvement, including:

  • Assessment of an agency's father friendliness
  • A checklist for assessing a father's involvement
  • Activities for fathers and their children
  • A message for mothers about the importance of fathers
  • Other resources

To download the full guide, visit the NFPN website: (371 KB)