Implementing Three New Skill-Building Components in Responsible Fatherhood Programs: Early Lessons from Building Bridges and Bonds
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Three innovations were designed specifically for fathers. Each uses an interactive approach to adult learning.
Innovation #1. A Cognitive Behavioral Workshop That Builds Skills for Employment Stability. Designed for fathers with a history of criminal justice involvement, CBI-Emp consists of a series of pre-employment group sessions that help fathers practice with their peers the skills to reframe unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and habitual responses and to reinforce positive behaviors that can help turn their focus in challenging situations toward solutions. Cognitive behavioral approaches have not yet been rigorously tested in employment programs for fathers, even though it has had some promising effects on recidivism for people who are involved in the criminal justice system.
Innovation #2. An Interactive Approach to High-Quality Parenting, known as Just Beginning. Designed for fathers with children under three years old, Just Beginning comprises five one-on-one sessions that are scheduled approximately once per week. Each session lasts for 60 to 90 minutes and consists of parent learning, father-child playtime, and time to debrief. Parenting programs for fathers are rare; it is rarer still for parenting programs to engage the father and the child together in structured activities that are aimed at promoting positive parenting interactions.
Innovation #3. An engagement and retention approach using a mobile smartphone application. Designed for fathers receiving innovation #2. The intervention uses a mobile application that provides planning and content support. It is innovative in its use of technology and in applying principles from “behavioral economics” to improve engagement in community-based programs.
This presentation will share early perspectives on implementation from program staff and managers who are integrating these innovations into their existing services and from fathers who are participating in the study. The service innovations described in this presentation represent new and potentially effective options for Responsible Fatherhood programs. While impact results are not yet available, early lessons about implementation are invaluable to decision-makers who may be considering new strategies to improve voluntary programs for fathers and others.
- MDRC_B3_FatherhoodInnovations_Brief.pdf (4329.9KB)