Friday, January 12, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marquis BR Salon 12 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Jay Fagan, PhD, Temple University
Anna Solmeyer, PhD, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (OPRE)
The proposed symposium will include four papers reporting the results of three separate randomized control trials and one quasi-experimental study examining the effects of fatherhood interventions on low income, primarily nonresidential fathers. All of these studies received grants from the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, a five-year Department of Health and Human Services grant awarded to Temple University and the Center for Policy Research to increase the amount and quality of rigorous evaluations of fatherhood programs serving low income, nonresident fathers who would like to become more involved and have better relationships with their children. These papers are highly relevant to social work researchers and practitioners because of the growing interest in policies and programs that may help low income nonresident fathers to stay connected with their children, and because of the negative effects on children when nonresident fathers are not involved with their children. The findings of these rigorous evaluations are important because numerous programs serving low income fathers and families have been developed throughout the U.S., yet few of these programs have been rigorously evaluated. According to Mathematica Policy Research, a total of 13 rigorous evaluations were conducted in the U.S. as of 2011. Of these studies, only eight examined the effects of the fatherhood program on fathers' involvement with children; the others focused on fathers' employment outcomes and child support payments. Moreover, it is likely that future support for fatherhood programs will hinge partly on the extent to which the programs show positive effects on fathers and families. In addition, these studies will be of interest to the audience because they used similar measures of fathers' engagement with children, father-mother coparenting relationships, and father-child relationship quality. The three randomized control trial studies have each collected pretest, post-test, and follow-up data as a means to assess the effects of the fatherhood program on its participants. The symposium chair will provide a brief introduction to the papers at the start of the symposium, including a short presentation about how the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) originated and how the FRPN came to fund these studies. Following the presentation of papers, a discussant (Federal Project Officer of the FRPN grant, Office of Policy, Research, and Evaluation) will provide comments about each study and synthesize what has been learned about fatherhood programs based on the four studies.
* noted as presenting author
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