Abstract: The DAD MAP Evaluation: A Randomized Control Trial of a Culturally Tailored Fatherhood Program for African American Dads (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

The DAD MAP Evaluation: A Randomized Control Trial of a Culturally Tailored Fatherhood Program for African American Dads

Friday, January 12, 2018: 8:00 AM
Marquis BR Salon 12 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Bright Sarfo, Research Associate, MEF Assoicates, Alexandria, VA
Background & Purpose: Despite the expansion in services targeting fathers, there remains a need for more research demonstrating program effectiveness among fatherhood programs. The Center for Urban Families (CFUF) in collaboration with MEF Associates as the partnering evaluator, implemented a randomized control trial testing the efficacy of the "Developing all Dads for Manhood and Parenting"(DAD MAP) fatherhood program. The DAD MAP curriculum was tested in African American fathers in four key areas: fatherhood responsibility; parental involvement; employment readiness; and healthy relationships.

Methods: Fathers who expressed an interest in receiving fatherhood services at CFUF were consented and enrolled into the study by trained staff. To test the effects of the DAD MAP curriculum, researchers implemented an experimental design in which fathers were randomized to either a fatherhood workshop guided by a structured parenting curriculum or an unstructured peer-led support group. The structured parenting groups were facilitated by a Responsible Fatherhood Specialist using the DAD MAP curriculum which included activities to build skills associated with; making formal and informal contributions to children, effective parenting, healthy co-parenting relationships and ongoing job searching. The peer-led support group were unstructured and allowed fathers to discuss any topics at their choosing. Fathers were assessed on demographic characteristics, formal and informal child support contributions, co-parenting relationship quality and childhood well-being at baseline, 3 and 6-month follow-up. The research questions that the study aimed to answer included:

  1. Are changes in fatherhood outcomes (parenting skills/knowledge, paternal involvement, financial contributions, child wellbeing, co-parenting cooperation, and workforce participation) associated with the DAD MAP intervention participation compared to enrollment in a peer lead support group condition among low-income fathers

  2. What is the extent to which changes in parenting and paternal involvement are associated with child well-being and co-parenting relationships?

  3. Which participant characteristics (e.g., employment status) moderate changes in outcomes described in question one among low-income fathers; and,

  4. Is session attendance associated with fatherhood outcomes?

Analysis/Results: 170 fathers were recruited into the study and randomized. Using an intent to treat analysis multivariate models were developed to test effects of treatment group participation on key outcomes. Preliminary results suggest positive effects on parental support (F (2, 95) = 15.21, p <.10), informal child support (F (2, 95) = 5.03, p <.05) and fatherhood contact (F (2, 95), 6.10, p <.05) at 3-month follow-up, and positive effects on informal child support (F (2, 73), = .12,06, p <.05) at 6-month follow-up. Few significant effects on co-parenting, childhood well-being were observed at both 3 and 6-month follow-ups. Moderation analysis did not reveal any significant subgroup difference in program impact. Conclusion & Implications: results support program messaging related to praise and encouragement, using creative strategies to consistently provide for children, and finding simple ways of maintaining a fatherhood presence may facilitate more supportive behaviors among fathers. The lack of co-parenting relationship quality and child well-being effects may support the need for more fatherhood interventions that take a systems approach to improving familial relationships as well as paternal behavior.