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This project is a descriptive study that will shed light on how fatherhood programs incorporate healthy romantic relationship and coparenting services into their programming. Although this project will not assess the impact of the programs or specific services on program participant outcomes, it will identify strategies that hold promise for promoting fathers’ active engagement in these services. The Office of Family Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds, and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation oversees this project.
Key project tasks include a scan of existing data from federally-funded Responsible Fatherhood programs (such as grantee applications and progress reports), a review of fatherhood program curricula, and semi-structured interviews conducted with staff and participants at 10 fatherhood programs. The project team seeks to answer the following broad research questions:
1) What current approaches do fatherhood programs use to support fathers’ healthy relationships (coparenting and romantic relationships)?
2) To what extent do current fatherhood program approaches align with participants’ needs around supporting healthy relationships?
3) What fatherhood program implementations strategies, including strategies around recruitment, retention, and engagement, hold promise for success?
The study will also explore how COVID-19 has affected fathers’ coparenting and romantic relationships, and how fatherhood programs have adapted programming in response to the pandemic.
The goal of this project is to build knowledge about approaches that fatherhood program providers currently use, or could use in the future, to foster healthy coparenting and romantic relationships. To meet this goal, the project team will:
• Describe the characteristics and qualities of marriages or romantic relationships, and coparenting relationships, of fathers who are likely to participate in fatherhood programs.
• Develop a conceptual model for addressing coparenting with fathers, including those most likely to be served by fatherhood programs.
• Document current services offered by fatherhood programs in the areas of romantic and coparenting relationships.
• Understand participant and program staff perspectives on romantic relationship and coparenting services, and how these services might be improved.
• Identify gaps in existing approaches to romantic relationship and coparenting services, and identify other approaches and/or resources relevant to address those gaps.