Research shows that when fathers are involved in their children’s lives, children do better across nearly every measure of wellbeing, from cognitive development and educational achievement to self-esteem and pro-social behavior.1 For example, children who grow up with involved fathers are two times as likely to go to college or find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.2 The absence of dads during the prenatal period and at the birth may also have a significant impact on maternal stress and adverse child health outcomes.3
The state of Texas is a national leader and model in recognizing the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, directed by Dr. Cynthia Osborne, has been a long-time partner with the Prevention and Intervention Division at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as it builds a comprehensive policy framework that advances father inclusion and supports whole families.
Adding to an extensive body of work on fatherhood policy, CFRP continues to help the state connect research to policy to practice through a series of on-going and new projects:
- Annual fatherhood research summit – In 2021, CFRP will host the Texas Fatherhood Summit for the 6th year, convening researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from across the state and country, taking research to the field to best support fathers and their families. New topics include serving dads effectively in a virtual environment, the importance of healthy coparenting, and incorporating father voice into programs.
- Provider learning collaborative - To better understand how program providers serve fathers and to facilitate learning and growth among providers, CFRP will convene the Pilot Learning Collaborative, a member-led forum for Texas providers to strengthen their services by discussing strategies and concerns and learning from experts and fathers. The pilot group will include fatherhood-specific program providers as well select early childhood providers that are dedicated to supporting fathers.
- Online fatherhood resource hub – The Fatherhood Resource Hub launched in the summer of 2020 filling a gap for the policymakers, administrators, and program providers -- a one-stop shop for research-driven resources on supporting Texas fathers. To continue actively engaging providers and to ensure that the Hub content addresses providers’ needs, CFRP will improve the usability of the Hub and enhance the content through new offerings, including an expansion of the “Examples of Excellence” videos highlighting provider work and a new “Ask the Experts” series designed to inform providers and fathers about systems that have a high touch with fathers.
For more on CFRP’s research on fathers, go to Publications > Fatherhood.
The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) is an independent, nonpartisan research group at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin directed by Associate Dean Dr. Cynthia Osborne. CFRP advances evidence-informed policymaking for children and their parents through rigorous research and collaboration. CFRP is also home to the national Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center.