Organization works to keep fathers in the lives of children

A Temple-affiliated organization analyzes father-child involvement.

The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network is rethinking what it means to be a father.

A collaborative effort between Temple and Denver’s Center for Policy Research in Denver, Colorado, the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network investigates fatherhood programs and their effectiveness.

 “The three main goals are to promote the rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs, increase the capacity of fatherhood programs around the country and to provide a place for the dissemination of information for effective fatherhood practice and evaluation research,” said Dr. Jay Fagan, co-director of the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network.

Fagan, a professor of social work at Temple, founded the five-year national project, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

The FRPN works to foster responsible fathers, co-parenting, healthy relationships and economic security.

The FRPN also works with agencies in order to improve the ability of fathers to “support themselves and their children and families economically, increase parenting time and support stable and positive co-parental relationships and healthy relationships … [and] increase positive father engagement with children,” according to its website.

The organization currently works with roughly 40 leading fatherhood researchers and practitioners.

“A lot of effort is put into father involvement in the child’s life,” said Maggie Spain, vice president of The Bawmann Group.

With an accrued grant of $350,000, the FRPN recently funded four projects.

In the four projects, which employed randomized-controlled trials, researchers collected data from fathers who participated in the program to assess changes in father-child relationships.

One of the programs funded, Developing All Dads for Manhood and Parenting, was created by the Center for Urban Families and Dr. Bright Sarfo.

DADMAP teaches fathers a curriculum based in behavioral theory and is geared towards low-income, African-American fathers.

The DADMAP program runs for 12 weeks with a curriculum designed to “support child support compliance, fatherhood involvement, co-parental operations and workforce readiness,” said Sarfo, the lead investigator.

The program aims to teach African-American males how to combat racial oppression and discusses “the concept of the African-American male” as well as the concept of masculinity.

Now out of the early trial stages, with the help of the FRPN, DADMAP hopes to become fully operational very soon.

“The FRPN has to make sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed,” Sarfo said. “[They are] very present and open … [and] continue to be helpful.”

The FRPN works closely with fatherhood programs in an effort to create other helpful and effective programs across the country that hope to benefit fathers and their children.

“We have monthly site calls, meetings to monitor the projects and provide support,” Fagan said.

Fagan said the FRPN is concerned with the ultimate well being of children. With a well-experienced team, the network works to partner fathers with organizations that will ensure healthy childhoods for their children.

The organization plans to continue to give out grants for deserving fatherhood programs well into the future.

“We have two more rounds [of grants] that we will be giving out in September of 2015, as well as September of 2016,” Fagan said.

Keeland Bowers can be reached at

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