Findings from a Randomized Study of an Intervention to Increase Father Involvement in Home Visitation
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Methods: A multisite clustered randomized control trial was conducted, beginning with twenty-one home visiting program supervisors across five large organizations, targeting approximately 200 families across condition. Supervisors were randomized to deliver Dads Matter enhanced services or home visiting services as usual, and those within the enhancement (intervention) condition implemented the enhancement through a train-the-trainer model. Participating mothers and fathers complete baseline, 4-month, and 1- year follow-up interviews, and audio recorded a day of the child’s language environment using the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) devices. Data was also collected at the worker, supervisor, and organizational levels, including fidelity data to gauge implementation of the intervention, and worker level factors such as attitudes and behaviors surrounding father involvement.
Analysis and Preliminary Results/Conclusions: The study, to date, has reached the original participant enrollment goal of 200 families, with 100 families assigned to each of the intervention and controls groups. The study has been able to retain a high proportion of those families for 4-month follow-up interviews, with nearly 150 families currently completing the 2nd stage of interviews so far. Just under 100 home visiting workers and supervisors have been trained and implemented the Dads Matter enhancement within their existing services, supervisors receiving the majority of training through the train-the-trainer model. Preliminary fidelity data is positive, showing that the proportion of fathers in home visits increased in the intervention condition and workers in the intervention condition increased the proportion of direct services they provide to fathers. Preliminary analysis of outcome data suggest effect sizes generally range from small to medium.
Implications for Practice/Policy: Preliminary results suggest that Dads Matter is a potentially feasible, acceptable, and effective approach to increasing fathers’ engagement and promoting family and child wellbeing. Preliminary intervention outcomes are suggestive of improvements for families who receive home visiting enhanced with Dads Matter, as compared to families who receive home visiting alone, as evidenced by maintained mother-father relationships, increased father involvement with infants, and lowered child abuse and neglect risk.