- March 2018
- Vol. 19, No. 2
Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report
The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) has released a new, comprehensive report on supporting father involvement: Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report: A Comprehensive Plan for Supporting Texas Fathers and Families. The report focuses on the Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow (EFFECT) program and its effort to improve children's well-being through helping fathers become more involved and educated and increasing protective factors by investing in fatherhood programs across the state.
Research has shown that children with involved fathers have more positive outcomes across a variety of domains than children without an involved father. However, many fathers face barriers to being the father they want to be. While there are many programs that support fathers, evidence of these programs' efficacy has been limited. CFRP focused their evaluation on four EFFECT program participants during two rounds of evaluation: Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS) and the Child Crisis Center of El Paso (EFFECT I, launched in 2013) and NewDay Services and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (EFFECT II, launched in 2015).
In this report, CFRP evaluates the EFFECT program and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division's (PEI's) efforts with three tiers:
- Evaluate implementation and outcomes to assess PEI's current investments in fathers
- Identify state and local agencies' current investments in fatherhood and create an inventory of Texas programs
- Identify innovative programs and policies in other states and highlight best practices
The findings of the evaluation indicate that meeting the needs of fathers could be challenging because the range and variety of their needs (e.g., housing, mental health, and legal needs) were difficult to meet in a classroom-based program. Additionally, the voluntary nature of the program, among other challenges such as transportation and work schedules, made participation difficult. This highlighted a need that programs and policies should be more comprehensive and focus on the whole family as well as fathers and should work with other state and program providers to try and remove these barriers.
With over 70 programs offered in Texas through federal, state, and local funding, there is a large opportunity for collaboration. CFRP recommends that fatherhood programs be strengthened in the following ways:
- Target fathers who may benefit most, such as teenage/young fathers, fathers reentering society from the criminal justice system, and fathers in the child welfare system
- Identify early intervention points to reach fathers before issues arise as well as help them establish solid foundations for their families
- Collaborate statewide and across organizations and agencies to develop regional programs and practices to serve fathers and their families
- Incorporate feedback from fathers when making changes to the EFFECT program
- Identify additional services, such as providing affordable transportation, which can help fathers participate in fatherhood programs like EFFECT
- Use a measuring instrument that fully captures the outcomes and goals of fatherhood programs, such as economic stability, father involvement, relationship quality, knowledge of child development, attitudes about parenting, communication skills, improved coparenting quality, and increased confidence as a father.
The report, Fatherhood EFFECT Evaluation Final Report: A Comprehensive Plan for Supporting Texas Fathers and Families, is available at https://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/CFRPReport_R0140817_FatherhoodEFFECT.pdf (4,460 KB).