Recognizing the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children and families, the state of Texas has developed initiatives to maximize opportunities and address systematic challenges in supporting fathers and fatherhood programs. In 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division (PEI) developed the Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow (EFFECT) Program to support fathers and strengthen families through evidence-based fatherhood programs across the state.
The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs conducted a long-term implementation and outcomes evaluation to determine the effectiveness and impacts of the program. Learn more about the evaluation and findings in the EFFECT Evaluation Final Report.
CFRP has also partnered with the state of Texas to develop a more comprehensive approach to supporting fathers. This broader approach includes gathering key stakeholders and leaders and championing the use of a father-inclusive lens in programs and services for families and the general public. The collaborative efforts below have been instrumental in how policymakers at all levels, program providers, and researchers now think of and support fathers and their families.
Supporting Fathers Through Collaborations
Annual Texas Fatherhood Summit
CFRP and PEI co-host the popular Texas Fatherhood Summit, which is now going in its third year. The annual summit brings together hundreds of service providers, researchers, advocates, policymakers, and community nonprofits from all over the state and beyond to learn about the current fatherhood research and how to develop more effective initiatives at all levels. The 2018 Texas Fatherhood Summit: Engaging Communities, Strengthening Families on June 29, 2018 will focus on why and how the inclusion of policies and programs that support fathers at the community level strengthens the entire family, as well as the communities in which they live. More on past summits: 2016 Building the Evidence Base for Fatherhood Programs, 2017 Strengthening Services to Support Fathers.
Texas Fatherhood Interagency Council
Starting in 2016, CFRP and PEI have been bringing together leadership from state agencies for the Texas Fatherhood Interagency Council (TFIC) to facilitate conversation about fathers at the state level. The TFIC seeks to raise awareness of fathers’ roles and impacts on family wellbeing, identify ways to better support fathers, and build connections and capacity for cross-agency collaboration. The TFIC is currently composed of stakeholders from seven Texas state agencies: Department of Family and Protective Services, Office of the Attorney General, Juvenile Justice Department, Department of State Health Services, Texas Education Agency, Texas Workforce Commission, and the Health and Human Services Commission.
Fatherhood in Austin/Central Texas
CFRP and area partners regularly convene representatives from over 40 organizations in Central Texas who serve or work with fathers and their families to provide guidance on developing evidence-informed policies and practices to achieve community level change from their efforts. The diverse, interdisciplinary group is composed of community non-profits, school districts, local government agencies, foundations, faith-based organizations, and more. The group is now working on assessing the needs of community fathers and creating strategies to address these needs and challenges.