Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their Children

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Fathers (including biological, step, and common-law) who have who have physically abused, emotionally abused, or neglected their children; exposed their children to domestic violence; or who are deemed to be at high-risk for these behaviors

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

The Caring Dads program combines elements of parenting, fathering, and child protection practice to address the needs of maltreating fathers. Program principles emphasize the need to:

  • Enhance men’s motivation
  • Promote child-centered fathering
  • Address men’s ability to engage in respectful, non-abusive co-parenting with children’s mothers
  • Recognize that children’s experience of trauma will impact the rate of possible change
  • Work collaboratively with other service providers to ensure that children benefit (and are not unintentionally harmed) as a result of father’s participation in intervention

The program uses a combination of motivation enhancement, parent education (including skills training and behavioral practice), and cognitive behavioral therapy to:

  • Improve men’s recognition and prioritization of children’s needs
  • Improve men’s understanding of developmental stages
  • Improve men’s respect and support for children’s relationships with their mothers
  • Improve men’s listening and using praise
  • Improve men’s empathy for children’s experiences of maltreatment
  • Identify and counter the distortions underlying men’s past, and potentially ongoing, abuse of their children and/or children’s mothers

Program Goals:

The goals of the Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their Children are:

  • Ensure the safety and well-being of children who have been impacted by men’s abuse or neglect, including domestic violence
  • Develop sufficient trust and motivation to engage men in the process of examining their fathering
  • Increase men's awareness and application of child-centered fathering
  • Eliminate fathers’ use of abuse and neglect towards their children and to promote respectful and non-abusive co-parenting with children’s mothers
  • Promote men’s appreciation of the impact of their past abuse on their children and family and help men take responsibility for these behaviors
  • Provide supportive outreach to children’s mothers to provide information about the program, safety planning, and referral, as necessary
  • Work with other professionals to plan for the future safety and well-being of children who have been impacted by abuse, neglect, and/or domestic violence

Contact Information

Katreena Scott, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: University of Toronto, Canada
Phone: (416) 978-0971
Fax: (416) 926-4708

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2015

Last CEBC Contact Date: October 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2011