Supporting Father Involvement (SFI)

Scientific Rating:
2
Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) has been rated by the CEBC in the areas of: Motivation and Engagement Programs and Father Involvement Interventions.

Target Population: Primarily low-income families

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 11

Brief Description

SFI is a preventive intervention designed to enhance fathers’ positive involvement with their children. The curriculum is based on an empirically-validated family risk model. This model predicts that children’s development is predicted by risks and buffers in five interconnected domains:

  • Family members’ characteristics
  • 3-generational expectations and relationship patterns
  • Quality of parent-child relationship
  • Quality of parents’ relationship
  • Balance of stressors versus social support for the family.

The curriculum highlights the potential contributions fathers make to the family.

Program Goals:

The goals of Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) are:

  • Strengthening fathers’ involvement in the family
  • Promoting healthy child development
  • Preventing key factors implicated in child abuse

Essential Components

The essential components of Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) include:

  • The curriculum targets 5 aspects of family life for intervention to enhance fathers’ involvement:
    • Both partners’ individual well-being
    • The quality of the relationship between the parents
    • The quality of relationship between parent and child
    • Breaking negative cycles across generations
    • Coping with life stress and enhancing social support
  • Group structure follows a curriculum but includes open-ended discussion of personal and family issues. SFI is designed for groups of 4-8 couples or 10-12 fathers, with two leaders. This is not a skills training program that teaches participants that there is only one correct way to be a family.
  • Leaders are trained mental health professionals, ideally license eligible.
  • Cultural sensitivity is maintained in intervention approach, language, and curriculum materials.
  • Meetings are held at dinnertime to meet schedules of working families. Food provided.
  • Childcare is provided.
  • Case management is provided for all families.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Problems in parent-child, couple, and three-generational relationships

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • School

Homework

Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) includes a homework component:

Follow-ups on the exercises and discussions in each group

Languages

Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Meeting room space adequate for groups of 10-18 adult participants and leaders. Additional space for providing childcare has been very much appreciated by staff and parents.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Group leaders need clinical training at the Master's Level or equivalent – licensed or license-eligible. Supervisors must be licensed mental health professionals.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • Danny Molina, SFI Project Manager
    Strategies

    phone: (805) 485-6114 x679
Training is obtained:

Information consultation currently available.

Strategies offers consultation and technical assistance in helping agencies to become more father friendly and in conducting fathers or couples group interventions in the model. Contact Danny (info above)

Number of days/hours:

Informal consultation currently available.

Implementation Information

Since Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) as listed below:

A father friendliness questionnaire is filled out by all agency staff members to measure readiness. Contact Danny Molina at dmolina@icfs.org or 714-517-1900 ext. 237 for more information.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is no formal support available for implementation of Supporting Father Involvement (SFI).

Fidelity Measures

There are no fidelity measures for Supporting Father Involvement (SFI).

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) as listed below:

There are two manuals for Group Leaders, one for the 16-week fathers group program and one for the 16-week couples group program. Each curriculum contains a week-by-week outline of topics to be discussed and suggested exercises to elicit discussion. The curricula can be obtained by family agency directors, clinical directors, or the equivalent, but not by private practitioners or individual clinicians within agencies. The curriculum is also available to researchers. To get the curricula, please contact:

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Supporting Father Involvement (SFI).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least one rigorous randomized controlled trial with a sustained effect of at least 6 months. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 6 months has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

*Cowan, P.A., Cowan, C. P., Pruett, M. K., & Pruett, K. D., & Wong, J. (2009). Promoting fathers' engagement with children: Preventive interventions for low-income families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 71, 663-679.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 371 couples

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 67% Mexican American, 27% European American, and 6% Other
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were families with the youngest child between 0-7 years of age who were recruited through Family Resource Centers, other county service agencies, and community events.

Location/Institution: California

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Families were recruited to participate in an intervention aimed at improving father engagement in childrearing. Recruited families were excluded if screening suggested mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse problems, or if they were currently involved in an open case with Child Protective Services. Participants were randomly assigned to a 16-week fathers’ group, a 16-week couples group, [both types of groups now called Supporting Father Involvement (SFI)] or a comparison group that only attended a single informational meeting. All participating families also had access to a case manager, who could make needed referrals to services and follow-up with regard to attendance at training sessions. Measures developed by the authors included a self-reported estimate of father-child relationship and parents’ self-ratings of division of labor in childcare. Parents also completed the Parenting Stress Inventory (PSI), the Ideas About Parenting Questionnaire, and the Quality of Marriage Index. Children’s behavior problems were assessed with the Child Adaptive Behavior Inventory. Results showed that parents in the 16-week group training conditions reported more stable perceptions of children’s problem behaviors and those in the couples groups reported more stable levels of relationship satisfaction. No effects were found for parenting attitudes. Limitations include self-report measures and use of a screened convenience sample.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Group interventions: 11 months, Single-session intervention: 18 months.

Cowan, P. A., Cowan, C. P., Pruett, M. K., Pruett, K., & Wong, J. J. (2014). Evaluating a couples group to enhance father involvement. Family Relations, 63(3), 356-370.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest study, with comparison to benchmark data
Number of Participants: 236 couples

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 50% Mexican American, 31% European American, 11% African American, 5% Asian American, and 5% Mixed Race
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were families with the youngest child between 0-11 years of age who were recruited through Family Resource Centers, other county service agencies, and community events.

Location/Institution: California

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The current study attempted to determine the effectiveness of the Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) program. Participants were randomly assigned to a 16-week fathers’ group, a 16-week couples group, [both types of groups now called SFI] or a comparison group that only attended a single informational meeting. Data from this study was compared to data from the Cowan, et al. (2009) study. Measures utilized include measures developed by the authors entitled the PIE and Who Does What, the Parenting Stress Index, the Ideas About Parenting Questionnaire, the Quality of Marriage Index, the Couple Communication Questionnaire, and the Child Adaptive Behavior Inventory. Father involvement increased for current couples group participants, though not as much as for benchmark couples group participants; they showed statistically similar positive changes on 6 measures (decline in parenting stress, stability in couple relationship satisfaction, children's hyperactivity, social withdrawal, psychological symptoms, increased income). Limitations include nonrandomization of subjects and concerns about the comparison group given the differences between the two samples.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Approximately 13 months.

References

Cowan, P. A., Cowan, C. P., Cohen, N., Pruett, M. K., & Pruett, K. (2008). Supporting fathers' engagement with their kids. In J. D. Berrick & N. Gilbert (Eds.), Raising children: Emerging needs, modern risks, and social responses (pp. 44-80). New York: Oxford University Press.

Pruett, M. K., Cowan, C. P., Cowan, P. A., & Pruett, K. (2009). Lessons learned from the Supporting Father Involvement study: A cross-cultural preventive intervention for low-income families with young children. Journal of Social Service Research, 35(2), 163-179.

Pruett, M. K., Cowan, C. P., Cowan, P. A., & Pruett, K. (2009). Fathers as resources in families involved in the child welfare system. Protecting Children, 24, 52-65.

Contact Information

Name: Philip A. Cowan
Agency/Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley
Website: ihd.berkeley.edu/research-centers/supporting-father-involvement
Email:
Phone: (510) 643-5608
Fax: (510) 526-5745

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2008