Research Across the United States

Fatherhood Serving Fathers Across the United States Federal Eval Hero

Learn more about key demographic information on fathers and the effectiveness of programs supporting fathers across the United States. Research provided below can help programs understand the needs of fathers and how best to support them. Find information from the federal government's fatherhood clearinghouse, a description of an organization dedicated to evaluating and disseminating information on fatherhood programs, and a sample of current and previous federally-funded evaluations of programs serving fathers. 

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC)

The NRFC is an Office of Family Assistance-funded resource available for anyone currently serving or interested in supporting fathers and families.

Search the NRFC Library for a variety of resources covering key topics relevant to responsible fatherhood including:

  • Parenting
  • Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Child Welfare
  • Health/Mental Health/Behavioral Health
  • Marriage/Relationships
  • Safety-net/Social Services and Providers
  • Racially/Ethnically/Culturally Diverse Populations
  • Economic Self-Sufficiency/Employment Development
  • Incarceration/Reentry
  • Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence/Dating Violence
  • Teen Pregnancy/Parenting

Learn more about key demographic information and key issues pertaining to fathers in the United States from the NRFC Research Reviews.

Fatherhood Research & Practice Network (FRPN)

Learn from the FRPN grantees' rigorous evaluations of fatherhood programs on the Publications webpage, and find information on promoting father inclusion in state-level programs and policies by reading more about FRPN's Fatherhood Policy projects. In addition to the FRPN publications of their fatherhood research, find a Researcher & Practitioner Forum, web-based resources on how to conduct an evaluation of a fatherhood program, and learning community webinars on the FRPN Technical Assistance webpage.

Federally-Funded Evaluations

The United States Department of Health & Human Services funds multiple evaluations of programs that serve fathers. Find information on various federal evaluations of fatherhood programs and other programs that work to increase fatherhood outcomes. Key evaluation topics include: behavioral science, child support, employment, home visiting, and responsible fatherhood programs.

The programs evaluated support a variety of fathers including fathers who are low-income, noncustodial parents, welfare recipients, underserved/understudied, and who were previously or are currently incarcerated. Program outcomes commonly include parent engagement, child support payment, father employment, and coparenting relationship quality.

Behavioral Science

Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS)

The BIAS project's purpose was to apply behavioral insights to issues related to the design and implementation of social service programs and policies, including child support services. The ultimate goal was to learn how tools from behavioral science can be used to improve the well-being of low-income children, adults, and families. Key outcome measures include: if any child support payments were made, the total amount of child support paid, and the number of months child support was paid.
Program/Service/Intervention: Application of behavioral economics principles to child support services
Population: Families in the child support system

Child Support

Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the approaches taken by eight grantees as part of a national demonstration, which aims to give child support programs the capacity to help noncustodial parents overcome employment barriers. Under CSPED, the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) issued grants to eight state child support agencies to provide employment, parenting, and child support services to noncustodial parents who are having difficulty meeting their child support obligations. Key outcome measures include: compliance with current child support orders, current child support order payments, NCP satisfaction with child support services, NCP employment, NCP earnings, and NCP sense of responsibility for children.
Program/Service/Intervention: Child support-led employment programs
Population: Noncustodial parents (NCP)

Parenting Time Opportunities for Children in the Child Support Program (PTOC)

The PTOC grants were awarded in 2012 to five states with the goal of improving the financial and emotional support of children in the child support system by safely developing parenting time orders at the time child support is established.
Program/Service/Intervention: Incorporation of parenting time orders into the child support establishment process
Population: Families in the child support system

Employment

Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED)

The STED project will evaluate subsidized and transitional employment approaches for critical low-income populations, potentially including welfare recipients and low-income noncustodial parents. The project will examine subsidized employment strategies designed to address two distinct goals: (1) provide work-based income support for people who are not able to find regular, unsubsidized jobs; and 2) to improve the employability of disadvantaged groups.
Program/Service/Intervention: Subsidized and transitional employment strategies
Population: Low-income populations

Home Visiting

Home Visiting: Approaches to Father Engagement and Fathers' Experiences

The Home Visiting: Approaches to Father Engagement and Fathers' Experiences Study was a qualitative project that collected information about innovative approaches used by existing home visiting programs to actively engage and serve fathers, and gather fathers’ perspectives on participating in such programs. The study involved interviews with program staff, home visitors, fathers, and mothers.
Program/Service/Intervention: Home visiting programs' approaches to actively engage and serve fathers
Population: Families in home visiting programs

Responsible Fatherhood Programs

Building Bridges and Bonds (B3)

The B3 evaluation includes six fatherhood programs, and is designed to test innovative, evidence-informed programming for fathers, with the goal of building practical evidence that can be used to improve services. The study team partnered with fatherhood programs and experts in the field to identify high-priority questions and emerging service approaches.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Population varies by RF program

Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED)

Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED) is a federal evaluation effort designed to: better understand how Responsible Fatherhood (RF) programs currently support healthy marriages/relationships and coparenting; examine how their approaches align with the needs of the fathers in their target populations; and inform the RF field about potential future directions in Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) and coparenting programming.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Population varies by RF program

Family Strengthening Scholars

The Family Strengthening Scholars grant program is designed to support dissertation research on healthy marriage/responsible fatherhood field (HM/RF) policy issues and are meant to build capacity in the research field to focus research on questions that have direct implications for HM/RF decision-making and program administration. They are intended to focus particularly on underserved/understudied populations, such as low-income families and minority population, utilize rigorous methodology and help inform the development of future intervention research.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Population varies by RF program (particularly underserved/understudied populations, such as low-income families and minority population)

Fatherhood and Marriage Local Evaluation (FaMLE) and Cross-Site Project

The purpose of the FaMLE and Cross-Site Project is to support ACF’s third cohort (2015-2020) of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HM/RF) grantees through: fostering high quality data collection; strengthening grantee-led local evaluations; and conducting cross-site performance measures analysis.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Population varies by RF program

Parents and Children Together (PACT) Evaluation

This multi-component evaluation funded by the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) seeks to evaluate the implementation process and impact of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HM/RF) programs. Through rigorous impact and process studies, ACF aims to learn about the challenges and successes of service implementation, the experiences and needs of participants, and the effectiveness of HM/RF services. Key outcome measures include: parenting involvement (activities with children and nurturing behaviors), quality of coparenting relationships, employment stability, and fathers' mental well-being.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Population varies by RF program

Responsible Fatherhood Programs: Reentry

Ex-Prisoner Reentry Strategies Study

The Ex-Prisoner Reentry Strategies Study documented the implementation of six Responsible Fatherhood programs that administered their programs to incarcerated, soon-to-be released and recently released fathers both in correctional institutions and in the community. The project team at the Urban Institute documented program activities, the experiences of staff and participants, and lessons useful to others in the field.
Program/Service/Intervention: Responsible fatherhood (RF) programs
Population: Incarcerated, soon-to-be released, and recently released fathers in RF programs