Topic: Father Involvement Interventions

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Father Involvement Interventions:

Father Involvement Interventions are defined by the CEBC as programs that aim to increase fathers' active and positive engagement in their children's lives. Father-focused programs promote involvement, provide support and education, teach fathers new parenting skills, and strengthen families. While all such programs directly or indirectly seek to prevent child abuse or neglect, some programs specifically aim to treat abuse.

Studies have shown that when fathers have positive relationships with their children, it can have positive effects on their children's behavior, social skills, cognitive development, and academic achievement. Children with involved fathers tend to do better in school, have better grades, and are less likely to be expelled and/or repeat grades. In addition, higher levels of father involvement are associated with lower levels of child neglect, and children who live in fatherless households often face higher risks of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect than children who live in households with a father present.

  • Target population: Fathers and their children
  • Services/types that fit: Prevention or intervention services that involve direct interaction with fathers in individual or group formats and delivered in person, via internet, or through recorded media (e.g. videos)
  • Delivered by: Trained paraprofessionals, educators, or mental health professionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target increasing father involvement as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by Scientific Rating Scale) that examines changes in outcomes related to father involvement, such as increased positive contacts between father and child(ren), improved attitude towards parental responsibilities, and improved relationships between fathers and children

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Two Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

Eight Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Father Involvement Interventions topic area is relevant to child welfare because to truly create a system that supports the best interests of children in out-of-home care, states and counties need to prioritize strategies that create equal access for fathers to be meaningfully involved in the lives of their children, and thus maximize the likelihood that the goals of safety, permanency and well-being are reached. Historically, mothers have been the primary focus of attention in the child welfare system. This has been mostly due to the fact that a large number of primary caretakers that come to the attention of child welfare are mothers and are seen as the identified client and the target of case plans. Thus, permanency planning has often been limited to targeting mothers and the maternal side of the families. In this mother-centric environment, the child welfare system has been increasingly recognizing the potential of missed opportunities for effective case and permanency planning when they are not actively involving the father and his side of the family. Several reports have revealed the lack of meaningful father engagement by child welfare workers. In response to this, the Children's Bureau, through its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR), now includes an assessment of the degree of father involvement as part of their review process of state child welfare systems. As other studies reveal, when fathers become positively involved, the likelihood of better outcomes increases.

Jorge Cabrera
Senior Director
Casey Family Programs
San Diego, CA

Topic Expert

Patricia Kohl, PhD, Assistant Professor
George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University
St. Louis, MO