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Essential Program Components

Components of a Successful Fatherhood Program

After a decade of father-friendly and effective program service delivery, The Center and local programs have developed key attributes and activities for success.

  • Program staff and Board must understand the target population.

  • Create welcoming, father-friendly environments easily accessible in the community and offering flexible hours of operation.

  • Programs must devote countless hours to outreach and recruitment on the "streets."

  • When fathers enter the program, immediately complete a thorough assessment of their needs. Set goals with individual fathers to address their needs while they participate in holistic programming.

  • Programs offer holistic services that address all domains of fatherhood. Referrals should be limited and used when services needed exceed the scope or expertise of fatherhood program staff.

  • Recognize that many low-income fathers have multiple and complex problems. Staff often devotes considerable amounts of individualized attention to each father.

  • Peer support groups must be formed.

  • Provide specific knowledge and skills to address key areas of fatherhood. It is important to have staff providing these services on-site.

  • Programs must have key partnerships integral to helping fathers navigate systems or to gain access to needed services.

  • Staff must be committed, caring, compassionate, respectful, non-judgmental and have the ability to gain fathers' trust. Staff must be role models and often need to be male.

  • Staff must utilize adult learning principles and techniques teaching in ways that men learn while applying creative strategies to reach the fathers.

  • When communicating with the public, promote how families benefit from engaged fathers, and especially, positive outcomes for children.

  • Programs must have an evaluation component and a data collection methodology.