Posted December 19, 2014

Temple’s fatherhood network funds first projects

Getty Images
FRPN-funded programs help fathers overcome the economic and social barriers that prevent them from taking a more active, positive role in the lives of their children.

The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN), a collaboration between Temple University and Denver’s Center for Policy Research, has awarded $350,000 to four projects that will evaluate fatherhood programs in order to determine how to best serve low-income fathers. Selected from an initial group of 71 proposals, the projects are in Goldsboro, North Carolina; Baltimore; Chicago; and Ohio.

Fatherhood programs provide services to help dads become more involved in their children’s lives and remove barriers that may prevent them from doing so. They often serve low-income, nonresident or minority fathers.

The four FRPN-funded projects, listed below, will examine the effectiveness of specific fatherhood programs and services:


Circle of Parents—Goldsboro, North Carolina
A research-practice partnership between Paul Lanier at the University of North Carolina School of Social Work, and the Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency in Goldsboro. The primary purpose is to test the impact of Circle of Parents, a peer support network, on the involvement of 200 fathers of young children receiving Head Start/Early Head Start services.

Developing All Dads for Manhood and Parenting—Baltimore
Baltimore’s Center for Urban Families and lead researcher Bright Sarfo of Columbia University will test the effectiveness of Developing All Dads for Manhood and Parenting, a curriculum that helps organizations establish father programs, among 140 low-income, African-American fathers. The study will explore how participation is associated with changes in paternal involvement and economic security, if changes in fathers’ parental behaviors can be correlated to childhood well-being, and how individual characteristics affect the curriculum’s effects on fatherhood behavior and childhood well-being.

The Home Visiting for Fathers Study—Chicago
Conducted by University of Denver’s Jennifer Bellamy in collaboration with Metropolitan Family Services and four other Chicago-based programs, the study includes a group of 200 fathers and 200 mothers participating in Dads Matter (an intervention designed to help fathers more positively interact with their children). The study will examine how certain factors may boost or dampen efforts to better serve fathers in home visitation programs, such as employees’ attitudes about working with fathers, and the attitudes of mothers and fathers about fathers’ participation in home visiting.

The Ridge Project—Ohio
Led by Young-II Kim and Baylor University researchers, in collaboration with Ohio’s Ridge Project, a family-strengthening services program, this study includes 400 low-income fathers drawn from nine cities—Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Findlay, Lima, McClure, Toledo and Wooster—who will attend a 20-hour program over five weeks. Researchers will analyze improvement over time in father-child relationship quality.


“Research shows that nonresident fathers can positively influence their children’s lives,” said Jay Fagan, co-director of the FRPN and social work professor at Temple. “But in order to better serve fathers who face significant barriers to being involved with their children, the fatherhood field must have a better understanding of what services are most effective. These four projects are well-designed, scientifically valid evaluation studies that have the potential to positively impact program delivery and outcomes.”

Established through a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, FRPN provides researchers and practitioners with collaborative opportunities to evaluate fatherhood programs and communicate information that leads to effective fatherhood practice and evaluation research. The $350,000 in funding is part of $1.2 million that FRPN will allocate to projects evaluating fatherhood programs over the next four years.