InsideOut Dad®

About This Program

Target Population: Incarcerated fathers with children 18 years old and younger, designed specifically for the issues/challenges faced by incarcerated fathers (e.g., challenge of successful reentry)

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Program Overview

InsideOut Dad® strives to increase inmates’ contact with their children and improve inmates’ awareness, knowledge, and attitudes about being an involved, responsible, and committed father. It includes 12 core sessions and 6 optional reentry sessions that allow facilitators to customize the program for the unique needs of the fathers they serve. The optional reentry sessions help fathers address issues they may face upon reentering society (e.g., payment of child support, access and visitation, and financial management). The program includes an evaluation tool (questionnaire) that allows facilitators to measure changes in fathers as a result of participating in the program. InsideOut Dad® has been used in state and federal facilities, pre-release programs, and community organizations, among others.

Program Goals

The goals of InsideOut Dad® are:

  • Increase awareness about the elements to being good fathers
  • Increase awareness about the elements to being good fathers
  • Increase capacity or skills in caring for children and building relationships with the mother of their children while still incarcerated
  • Increase pro-fathering habits
  • Increase self-worth as a man and father

Logic Model

View the Logic Model for InsideOut Dad®.

Essential Components

The essential components of InsideOut Dad® include:

  • It is recommended to have no more than 12 fathers per group and to have a co-facilitator for groups of 8 to 12 fathers.
  • Each of the 12 core sessions and 6 optional reentry sessions follows a structured sequence of activities that build awareness and knowledge about the subject matter of the session that fathers use to increase their capacity or skills in caring for themselves, their children, and their relationships (e.g., with the mother of their children).
  • Each core and optional session follows the same format for consistency and lasts for approximately 2 hours. Fathers use their Fathering Handbook during each session (e.g., complete fill-in-the blank forms and surveys/checklists) to enhance and reinforce learning.
  • Sessions include activities that draw on the logical and analytical (left side) and creative and emotional (right side) parts of the brain. These activities combine to enhance fathers' learning because they require them to use all parts of their brain. This approach helps facilitators create a balance of activities for fathers who are most comfortable with analytical and fathers who are most comfortable with creative exercises.
  • Facilitators should follow the sessions in order and the sequence of the activities in each session to maintain program fidelity and to effectively evaluate the impact of the program.
  • Core sessions in the program include:
    • Getting Started
    • Family History and The InsideOut Dad
    • What It Means to be a Man
    • Showing and Handling Feelings
    • Men's Health
    • Communication
    • The Father's Role
    • Children's Growth
    • Discipline
    • Working with Mom and Co-Parenting
    • Fathering from the Inside
    • Celebrate

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

InsideOut Dad® directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Lack of awareness, knowledge, and skills related to being an effective parent and father including how to improve fathering and parenting while incarcerated; poor or strained relationship with the mother (or other main caregiver) of their children; lack of knowledge about how to develop an effective plan for reentry into the lives of family and community

Recommended Intensity:

Weekly 2-hour sessions; the program may also be delivered in a shorter duration depending on the audience (e.g., 2 sessions per week for a total of 4 hours)

Recommended Duration:

12 weeks; program may be delivered in a shorter duration depending on the audience (e.g., 6 weeks with 2 sessions per week)

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)


InsideOut Dad® includes a homework component:

Fathers complete a session log at the end of each session that includes identifying strategies they will use to be a better father based on what they learned during the session. Facilitators may ask fathers to discuss how successful they were at implementing what they learned during the start of the following session. Fathers also create a Fathering Plan after the sixth of the twelve core sessions. It includes ways they will connect with each of their children and information they will gather on their children to become more familiar with them (e.g., favorites [animal, movie, food, etc.] and interests). Fathers refine this plan as they try ways to connect between sessions and discuss successes in subsequent sessions.


InsideOut Dad® has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

The facilitator’s manual for the program lists the basic program supplies which include a flip chart (or whiteboard) and markers; pens and pencils; and blank pieces of paper.

Facilitators should have access to a room large enough for up to 12 fathers and the facilitator(s) to sit comfortably. The room should also be large enough to allow for fathers to freely move around the room without bumping into each other or objects during the interactive activities that require movement around the room.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There is no minimum educational requirement to be a facilitator. It is recommended, but not required, that facilitators participate in a training institute on the programs. If a facilitator is experienced, he/she can purchase the programs and conduct them without training because the curriculum materials describe exactly how to conduct the programs. It is recommended that facilitators have knowledge of the rules and regulations of the correctional facility/system in which they will deliver the program before they deliver it. Free technical assistance is provided to facilitators whether or not they participate in a training institute.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Manual information:

  • Brown, C., Bavolek, S., & Yudt, M. (2019). InsideOut Dad® facilitator’s manual: Core sessions (3rd ed.). National Fatherhood Initiative®.
  • Brown, C., Bavolek, S., & Yudt, M. (2019). InsideOut Dad® facilitator’s manual: Reentry sessions (3rd ed.). National Fatherhood Initiative®.

The manuals can be accessed online at

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Custom onsite training or webinar upon request of organization; National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) also offers webinar-based trainings throughout the year that anyone can register to attend. The training schedule can be obtained at or through the training contact above.

NFI also provides ongoing, free technical assistance to organizations and individuals that acquire the program with or without formal training. There is no time limit for this assistance. NFI has several staff qualified to provide this assistance. Assistance covers all elements of successful program implementation (e.g., recruitment and retention, effective facilitation, and implementation with fidelity). NFI’s Father Engagement Academy™ is another source of support. It includes free and fee-based courses that can help with successful implementation. For more information, visit

Number of days/hours:

1-day (8 hours) and 2-day (16 hours) options

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Block, S., Brown, C. A., Barretti, L. M., Walker, E., Yudt, M., & Fretz, R. (2014). A mixed-method assessment of a parenting program for incarcerated fathers. Journal of Correctional Education, 65(1), 50–67.

Type of Study: Pretest–posttest study with a nonequivalent control group (Quasi-experimental)
Number of Participants: 413


  • Age — Intervention: Mean=35 years; Control: Mean=39 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Intervention: 72% Black, 14% Hispanic, 10% White, and 4% Other; Control: 82% Black, 10% Hispanic, and 9% White
  • Gender — 100% Male
  • Status — Participants were incarcerated fathers in short-term New Jersey correctional facilities.

Location/Institution: Newark, New Jersey

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to present an evaluation of the InsideOut Dad® program in three correctional facilities in New Jersey. Measures utilized include the InsideOut Dad® Attitude Scale, a modified version of the Coping Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES), InsideOut Dad® Knowledge Assessment, and an abbreviated version of the Parental Attitude Research Instrument (PARI). Results indicate that there were statistically significant changes in scales measuring fathering confidence, knowledge, attitude, and phone contact with children in comparison with the control group. Limitations include the lack of information on the reliability or validity of the measures used in the study, the lack of randomization of participants, and lack of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Turner, J. J., Bradford, K., Higginbotham, B. J., & Coppin, A. (2021). Examining the outcomes of the InsideOut Dad fatherhood education program for incarcerated minority fathers. The Family Journal, 29(3), 305–315.

Type of Study: One-group pretest–posttest study
Number of Participants: 713


  • Age — 18–45+ years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 479 Hispanic/Latino, 67 American Indian/Alaskan Native, 63 Black/African American, 41 Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 34 Two or more races, and 29 Other
  • Gender — 100% Male
  • Status — Participants were incarcerated fathers.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to examine the outcomes and experiences of incarcerated minority fathers who participated in the InsideOut Dad program. Measures utilized include a three-item subscale that measured father– child relations and a four-item subscale that measured social support, adopted from the Protective Factors Survey, partner conflict were measured through a seven-item subscale, adopted from the Building Strong Families’ Destructive Conflict subscale, and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. Results indicate that there were decreases in partner conflict among participants and more positive perceptions of subjective well-being. Results also revealed that InsideOut Dad was positively received, with participants noting the skills they developed. As a result of fatherhood education, incarcerated minority fathers reported being empowered and more confident in their roles as fathers and that they learned needed skills to be responsible and responsive fathers. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants, difficulty with access to incarcerated populations, the absence of father–child contact during the program, low generalizability to other ethnic populations due to the sample being primarily of Latino ethnicity, and lack of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Spain, S. (2009). InsideOut Dad® program in Maryland and Ohio prisons: Evaluation report. National Fatherhood Initiative. Access through this link.

Contact Information

Christopher A. Brown, MA
Title: President
Agency/Affiliation: National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI)
Phone: (301) 948-0599
Fax: (301) 948-4325

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2022

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: September 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2011