A Self-Assessment of a Philadelphia Group of Children, Youth and Family-Focused Agencies on Father Friendliness: A Descriptive Study
This project explored the integration of Responsible Fatherhood within Foster Care Service within Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It was hypothesized that the key to reducing the number of children who are at risk of entering, re-entering and remaining in various systems of care are the social service programs and systems created to meet the needs of children. One element to improve the outcomes for children is to establish that engaging fathers of foster children can be important not only for the potential benefit of a child-father relationship but also for making placement decisions and gaining access to resources for the child. A diverse group of n=22 service providers voluntarily became involved in a multi-year participatory action research to explore the value of building capacity to integrate Responsible Fatherhood practices, programs, and/or initiatives within foster care service delivery and other children and youth servicing systems. The results from the study highlight a substantial distinction between baseline and post-evaluation of the agency’s father readiness. The findings suggest that there were significantly higher scores on the father friendly checklist in the areas of leadership, polices & procedures, staff development, parent programming, and fatherhood. The article summarizes key recommendation for social service agencies to develop initiatives that outreach to fathers not only to connect with their children, but to build a broader support network that enhances child safety, permanency and well-being.
Allen, Q. (2016). ‘Tell your own story’: manhood, masculinity and racial socialization among black fathers and their sons. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(10), 1831-1848.
Baum, N. (2017). Gender-sensitive intervention to improve work with fathers in child welfare services. Child & Family Social Work, 22(1), 419-427. doi:10.1111/cfs.12259
Bellamy, J.L. (2009). A national study of male involvement among families in contact with the child welfare system. Child Maltreatment, 14 (3), 255–262.
Brown, L., Callahan, M., Strega, S., Walmsley, C., & Dominelli, L. (2009). Manufacturing ghost fathers: The paradox of father presence and absence in child welfare. Child & Family Social Work, 14(1), 25-34.
Bryn Mawr. (2018). Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Retrieved from https://www.brynmawr.edu/socialwork/
Carpenter, B., & Towers, C. (2008). Recognizing fathers: The needs of fathers of children with disabilities. Support for Learning, 23(3), 118-125.
Chawla-Duggan, R., & Milner, S. (2016). Father involvement in young children’s care and education: exploring boundaries and starting conversations. Cambridge Journal of Education, 46(4), 473-489.
Childrens Rights. (2016). Foster care fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/foster-care/
Coakley, T. M., Shears, J. K., & Randolph, S. D. (2014). Understanding Key Barriers to Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children's Lives. Child & Youth Services, 35(4), 343-364.
Coady, N., Hoy, S., & Cameron, G. (2013). Fathers' experiences with child welfare services. Child & Family Social Work, 18(3), 275-284. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00842.x
Crenshaw, K. (1995). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. The New Press.
Deave, T., & Johnson, D. (2008). The transition to parenthood: what does it mean for fathers? Journal of advanced nursing, 63(6), 626-633.
Dollahite, D. C. (2004). A narrative approach to exploring responsible involvement of fathers and their special-needs children. In R. D. Day, M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Conceptualizing and measuring father involvement (p. 109-127). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Dominelli, L., Strega, S., Walmsley, C., Callahan, M., & Brown, L. (2010). ‘Here's my story’: Fathers of ‘looked after ‘children recount their experiences in the Canadian child welfare system. The British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), 351-367.
David Hansell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), April 19, 2011. Opening Remarks before the Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Income. U.S. House of Representatives.
Gervais, C., de Montigny, F., Lacharité, C., & Dubeau, D. (2015). The Father Friendly Initiative within Families: Using a logic model to develop program theory for a father support program. Evaluation and program planning, 52, 133-141.
Gervais, C., de Montigny, F., Lacharité, C., & St-Arneault, K. (2016). Where fathers fit in Quebec’s perinatal health care services system and what they need. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 17(2), 126.
Gordon, D. M., Oliveros, A., Hawes, S. W., Iwamoto, D. K., & Rayford, B. S. (2012). Engaging fathers in child protection services: A review of factors and strategies across ecological systems. Children and youth services review, 34(8), 1399-1417.
Kids Count (2017). Kids Count data center – A Project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from http://datacenter.kidscount.org/
Kirven, J. (2014). The reality and responsibility of pregnancy provides a new meaning to life for teenage fathers. International Journal of Choice Theory and Reality Therapy, 2, 23-28.
Malm, K.E. & Zielewski, E.H. (2009) Nonresident father support and reunification outcomes for children in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 1010–1018.
Marsiglia, F. F., & Kulis, S. S. (2009). Diversity, oppression, and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
Maxwell, N., Scourfield, J., Holland, S., Featherstone, B. and Lee, J. (2012). The benefits and challenges of training child protection social workers in father engagement. Child Abuse Review, 21(4) 299–310. doi:10.1002/car.2218
Metz, A., & Bartley, L. (2012). Active Implementation Frameworks for Program Success: How to Use Implementation Science to Improve Outcomes for Children. Zero to Three (J), 32(4), 11-18.
National Fatherhood Initiative. (2016). Understanding dad: An awareness and communications program for moms. Germantown, MD. Retrieved from www.fatherhood.org/free-resource/topic/understanding-dad.
Premberg, Å., Hellström, A. L., & Berg, M. (2008). Experiences of the first year as father. Scandinavian journal of caring sciences, 22(1), 56-63.
Scourfield, J., Cheung, S. Y., & Macdonald, G. (2014). Working with fathers to improve children's well-being: Results of a survey exploring service provision and intervention approach in the UK. Children and Youth Services Review, 43, 40-50.
Stoneleigh Foundation. (2018). Child Welfare. Retrieved from https://stoneleighfoundation.org/our-priorities/child-welfare/
Strega, S., Brown, L., Callahan, M., Dominelli, L. & Walmsley, C. (2009). Working with me, working at me: fathers’ narratives of child welfare. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 20(1), 72–91.
The Majority of Children Live With Two Parents. U.S. Census Report # CB 16-192, Released November 17, 2016.
The Integration of Responsible Fatherhood within Foster Care Service Delivery, Application Project Proposal. December 22, 2011.
The Strong Families Commission. (2018). Mission Statement. Retrieved from https://www.thestrongfamiliescommission.com/
Towers, C. (2007). Let's not forget about fathers. Learning Disability Today, 7(2), 15-19.
Turbiville, V. P. & Marquis, J. G. (2001). Father participation in early education programs. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 21(4), 223-231.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). Historical living arrangements of children [Table CH-1]. Retrieved from https://www. census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/families/ children.html
Zanoni, L., Warburton, W., Bussey, K., & McMaugh, A. (2013). Fathers as ‘core business’ in child welfare practice and research: An interdisciplinary review. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(7), 1055-1070.
Zimmerman, M. A., Stoddard, S. A., Eisman, A. B., Caldwell, C. H., Aiyer, S. M., & Miller, A. (2013). Adolescent Resilience: Promotive Factors That Inform Prevention. Child Development Perspectives, 7(4), 10.1111/cdep.12042.http://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12042
Zimmerman M. A., Brenner A. B. (2010). Resilience in adolescence: Overcoming neighborhood disadvantage. In Reich J. W., Zautra A. J., Hall J. S. (Eds.), Handbook of resilience. New York: Guilford Press. Pp. 283–308.
Copyright (c) 2019 jeffrey shears, Rufus Lynch, Joshua Kirven
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors retain the copyright of their manuscripts, and all Open Access articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.