Engaging fathers in human services programming can help improve economic opportunity and well-being for fathers, children, and families. While many human services programs have historically been targeted more toward mothers and have under-served men and fathers, HHS encourages state and local human services agencies to value both the financial and parenting contributions of both mothers and fathers to their children’s lives. This includes keeping fathers safely engaged in their children’s lives and avoiding unintentionally or inadvertently excluding fathers—and their strengths and needs—in service delivery and program implementation.
ASPE has contracted with Mathematica to identify strategies used to engage fathers across human service programming. This page lists materials developed through this project as resources for human services program staff and practitioners to strengthen father engagement.
- Father Engagement in Human Services – Identifies approaches and strategies at the program, organization, and system levels to strengthen engagement of fathers by human services programs, with the goal of improving outcomes for children, fathers, and families. This issue brief summarizes the key research findings of ASPE’s KEEP Fathers Engaged project.
- What is Father Engagement? – Defines "father engagement" and highlights ways programs, organizations, and systems play a role in promoting father engagement in services.
- A Framework for Father Engagement – Visualizes a framework for father engagement in human services, detailing key approaches and strategies used by programs, organizations, and systems.
- Father Engagement in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs: ForeverDads – Identifies lessons about engaging fathers through community partnerships, drawing on the example of a rural Ohio fatherhood program that developed partnerships with area substance use disorder treatment programs.
- Father Engagement in Healthy Start Programs: Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition Fatherhood PRIDE – Highlights approaches to increase father engagement through changes to the program intake process and by leveraging fathers’ social networks.
- Father Engagement in Family Nutrition and Health Programs: California WIC Association – Describes how system-level actors such as statewide associations can support local program in involving fathers in programming, including in human services programs that historically focus on women and children primarily.
- Podcast: Advancing Racial Equity in Fatherhood Programs – This podcast features several speakers who discuss how human services programs have historically excluded fathers and strategies for improving the racial equity of these programs as it relates to father engagement.
- Podcast: New Insights from an Early Childhood Nonprofit That Supports Fathers – This podcast features an interview with a fatherhood program provider and with a father who participated in services from a local Head Start program in Washington, D.C.
- Podcast: How Fatherhood Programs Supported Dads During the Pandemic – This podcast features interviews with service providers, fatherhood experts, and a father about COVID-19’s implications for delivering fatherhood engagement services during and after the pandemic.
- Video: A Conversation about Engaging Young Fathers in Human Services – This video features an interview with a fatherhood expert and practitioner about strategies for meaningfully engaging young fathers in human services programming.
- Video: A Conversation about Engaging Fathers in Home Visiting Programs – This video features an interview with a practitioner from a home visiting program about meaningfully engaging fathers in such programs.
- Strengthening Partnerships Between Fatherhood and Human Services Programs to Improve Father Engagement – This guide for practitioners outlines the benefits of partnerships between fatherhood and human services programs and identifies key strategies for developing and sustaining such partnerships.
- Engaging Fathers During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond – This program snapshot explores how a fatherhood program in South Carolina adapted its program to better engage fathers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights strategies this program and others used during the pandemic that may help strengthen service delivery going forward.
- Approaches for Engaging Fathers in Child Support Programs – This fact sheet explores three key strategies for child support agencies to engage fathers and improve family stability.
- Centering Fathers in Human Services Programming to Increase Participation – This guide for practitioners offers strategies and examples from the field for a two-step process of increasing participation: (1) getting fathers into human services programs and (2) keeping them engaged in programming.