Pregnancy Centers: Restoring Fatherhood Webinar 2013
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Pregnancy Centers: Restoring Fatherhood Webinar 2013



Learn how pregnancy centers can include fathers and help to restore fatherhood and create life abundant for the children of our future.

Learn how pregnancy centers can include fathers and help to restore fatherhood and create life abundant for the children of our future.



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  • Each individual as well as every organization is in one of these 4 stages. We each come to this issue with a variety of influencers that will either encourage or discourage our desire or ability to move to the next stage. One strong influencer is an organization ’ s ability to critically think.
  • Facilitator Instructions : Explain that if they want one page that covers what NFI does, this is it! This slide summarizes who NFI is. We are a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization that was founded in 1994 to confront the most consequential social problem of our time: the widespread fatherlessness in the lives of our nation’s children. Explain that our mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible and committed fathers in their lives. Involved, responsible and committed is a mantra at NFI, because those are the three characteristics that a good father should have. Some fathers are involved but not responsible. Some are involved but should be committed. So we want fathers to be all three – involved, responsible and committed. We do this through the 3 E strategy. Educate, Equip, Engage NFI curricula fall under the “Equipping’ part of our strategy.
  • We will talk later about the actual stats on why fathers matter
  • Another major part of our public education effort is to get accurate, timely information to the public on father absence and its consequences. In November of 2005, we released “ With This Ring, A National Survey on Marriage in America, ” which is one of the largest surveys ever conducted on American attitudes towards marriage. In December of 2006, we released “ Pop ’ s Culture: A National Survey on Dads ’ Attitudes on Fathering. ” Both of these surveys are available for download on our website. “ The Father Factor, ” is a compilation of social science research on the negative consequences of father absence on our youth. It is a great resource for speeches and presentations on various issues. Our flagship research piece is called “ Father Facts, ” and the 5 th edition was released in the spring of 2007. Father Facts is a 180-page compilation of social science research on trends in family structure and child well being, with chapters on the negative effects of fatherlessnes and the positive effects of father involvement. Mama Says….
  • This was one of the most alarming bits of information I read—If dads think they are replaceable- (and moms agree) if this is true…Houston we have a problem!
  • Note –* a newer phenomena as an obstacle/barrier to fathers is the grandmother!
  • Although the following slides are taken from this presentation, it is good discussion for what the barriers to fathers are in Pregnancy Centers.
  • Refer to the Handout of Logic model explain the various inputs activities of the project. Some points: Over 8300 hours of T & TA provided to date We use an independent review panel (30-42 reviewers) We provide 5-8 webinars each year Continue to use feedback from sites to address TA needs most effectively
  • When you think about these stats- if 88% were identified that = about 1760 fathers; 55% were contacted by the agency or 968; and 40% of them visited the child or 290 fathers. And 28% of those fathers expressed interest in living with the child or 81 fathers. (that is 4% of the original 2000 children with a chance of living w/father)
  • Facilitator: Do any of these issues resonate in the pregnancy center? Is there a culture of thinking ‘all men are or could be violent? All are predators?
  • Facilitator: Do any of these issues resonate in the pregnancy center?
  • Facilitator: Some other anecdotal information is that the mother has ‘moved on’. Do any of these issues resonate in the pregnancy center?
  • Facilitator: Do any of these issues resonate in the pregnancy center? In 2001, the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) studied how child welfare practitioners engage or fail to engage fathers when children need to be removed from an abusive or neglectful mother. As a result of interviews conducted with 100 child welfare workers, court personnel, and staff of family preservation and fatherhood programs in Newark, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Washington and Trenton, NFPN reported, “Participants again and again stated that family of origin issues play an enormous role in how professionals work with fathers… Many female child welfare workers have negative experiences surrounding their own fathers or the fathers of their children. Personal biases and experiences can and do contaminate professional practice .” Some female workers acknowledged wanting to avoid their own “issues about men.” (National Family Preservation Network, 2001).
  • I believe that these 2 terms have the biggest impact on the level of a father ’s involvement in his child’s life. If a mom is the “gateway” between the child and the dad, meaning she encourages him in his role as a dad, studies have shown the dad to be much more involved in his child’s life. Conversely, if the mom is a “gatekeeper” who controls access to his child, the gate can be closed for any number of reasons that may have nothing to do with his ability to be a good dad. These situations have a negative impact on the dad’s motivation to be involved in his child’s life. Unfortunately, many dads and social service providers report frequent situations where “gatekeeping” prevents dads access to his children even after he has participated in parenting programs to increase his fathering skills. So, let’s talk a little more about the term “gatekeeping”.
  • I believe that these 2 terms have the biggest impact on the level of a father ’s involvement in his child’s life. If a mom is the “gateway” between the child and the dad, meaning she encourages him in his role as a dad, studies have shown the dad to be much more involved in his child’s life. Conversely, if the mom is a “gatekeeper” who controls access to his child, the gate can be closed for any number of reasons that may have nothing to do with his ability to be a good dad. These situations have a negative impact on the dad’s motivation to be involved in his child’s life. Unfortunately, many dads and social service providers report frequent situations where “gatekeeping” prevents dads access to his children even after he has participated in parenting programs to increase his fathering skills. So, let’s talk a little more about the term “gatekeeping”.
  • I think it ’ s important that we spend a little time on a fairly new term “ Maternal gatekeeping ” which is typically defined as a collection of beliefs and behaviors that may inhibit a collaborative effort between men and women in family work (Allen & Hawkins, 1999). Specific gatekeeping behaviors can include assuming primary responsibility for childrearing tasks or criticizing the father ’ s actions when he is involved.
  • Here are some behavioral aspects that you can reference to assess a mom ’s level and appropriateness of gatekeeping. Remember, as parents there may be some influences that we do need to gatekeep in the best interest of the child so want to keep a balanced perspective. Now read the slide.
  • Read the slide—there is a study on the next slide.
  • In situations with parents not living together- mom may say she doesn’t know who the dad is ‘with’ re: friends/aquaintances or may say don’t want child near his friends/acquaintances – if they don’t know who they are – how do they know they are not good? Are the moms making the right choices in friends/aquaintances as well.
  • Read title of final research publication and announce that this research does a great job of summarizing moms role as gatekeeper in father involvement. Read slides. Implication: Help mom understand the important role dad plays in her child ’s well-being.
  • This slide builds off of the last bullet on the previous slide to illustrate that some of the ways fathers parent are different and teaches their children different areas of development than mom ’s ways. Together, mom and dad work as a system that provides a more balanced and well-adjusted child. One way isn’t better than the other; however, both bring a unique and irreplaceable piece to the parenting puzzle.
  • Prenatal Care: Early detection of infections, STDs, nutritional problems in mom, lack of insurance Breast feed: Less Smokng Less Likely to become depressed
  • Remember that LBW is the #1 contributing factor to infant mortality today. Babies are more likely to breast fed and breast feeding comes with several benefits over formula: Nutrition benefits to infants, especially infants who might have a hard time taking formula Immune benefits-the mother milk contains infection fighting antibodies that are passed along to the baby. These are especially important during the winter months that are considered our “ cold and flu ” season. Breast fed babies seem to get fewer respiratory illness and may develop fewer allergies. Let ’ s do another Poll. Which of the following has the greatest impact on whether a pregnant women obtains adequate and early pre-natal care? Go ahead mark your response. These polls are good for keeping people engaged. Speaking of involvement, we can see by the number of responses how involved the participants are.  Let ’ s look at the answer.
  • One resource which has been helpful is the MAG module. Here ’s what MAG is designed to do…
  • We already talked about the first bullet. The second bullet can help you put together the most effective way to help the mom encourage father involvement. Discuss NFI ’s Dadventures program for the third bullet. For the fourth bullet, mention that this is a way to diffuse many defenses that moms may have about the dad and understand that they were created different for a reason, which ultimately benefits their child.
  • Once you start helping moms encourage dads to get involved, it will be important to have activities and resources available that the dads will feel comfortable with and believe are for them.
  • A good starting point
  • Trainer: Tell the participants that you will share the factors that influence father involvement so that they can see how the father-friendly organization fits in to the set of factors. These factors were identified by Michael Lamb, Ph.D. and described in Chapter 1 of “The Role of the Father in Child Development” now in its 5 th edition. Two of the factors exist within the father (motivation and skills and self-confidence)—or are “internal”—and two exist outside the father (social supports and institutional/cultural factors)—or are “external.” Point out that it’s very important to address internal and external factors to increase father involvement. Point out that NFI’s workshop The 7 Bright Spots to Designing Your Fatherhood Program ™ includes a closer look at how to do this.
  • Trainer: Simply read the copy on this slide and the next one telling the participants that these are the areas within the four factors that have been found to influence father involvement through research conducted in the past several decades. You don ’t have to explain how each one affects father involvement.
  • Facilitators: Mention observed bias toward fathers in social work will be discussed later today in the session on barriers to father engagement:
  • Trainer: Point out that NFI was the first to develop this kind of organizational assessment and has been diligent about updating it ever since. Working with many types of organizations: Head Start/Early Head Start Parents as Teachers Circle of Parents Schools Churches Businesses Note that we have been approached by a variety of organizations to develop customized versions of the check-up.
  • Trainer: Go through the assessment categories on the next two slides and define them for the participants. Make sure they understand the definitions because they ’ll need to remember them throughout the remainder of the workshop.
  • Trainer: Give the participants the Case Studies of Strategic Plans handout. Tell them that you will share the results of using the check-up/assessment tool to create a customized strategic plan to increase father friendliness from four organizations. Each of these organizations worked with NFI to apply the check-up and received training and technical assistance from us. Provide some background on each of the organizations using this slide and the next three slides, and then go over the handout in as much detail as you have time. After you go through the handout, ask participants for their thoughts/reactions. If someone asks about where NFI received funding to work with this organization , NFI worked with PCC as part of a large grant from a private source to increase father friendliness among PCCs nationwide. Do not share this information unless asked for it, and under no circumstances reveal the name of the funder.
  • Trainer: Encourage the participants to download the free check-up from NFI ’s website and to use it for the purposes on this slide.
  • The ‘ guy ’ may not know if he is dad yet – while she is testing, have something for him to read. Mention that NFI’s Dad’s Pocket Guides are also a great recruitment tool in that you can insert a flyer regarding your Why Knot? program right into it. The Pocket Guides are easily distributed and include tools that will inspire dads to seek a group program like Why Knot?. Research has shown that this is a great time to reach men around relationship and fatherhood skill building.
  • Talk About Assumptions by not inviting him at all- assumption is he is abusive/perpetrator, Tell story about intake form at Head starts & Bethany Fathers are often thought of as Perpetrators!
  • Trainer: End the workshop with this quote. Margaret Mead was one of the most famous anthropologists the world has known. This powerful quote comes from a book she published in 1950 called “Male and Female.” Point out that she said it is the “primary” task, not just one of many tasks. And the next my favorite quote regarding fathers and families…
  • Will Do

Pregnancy Centers: Restoring Fatherhood Webinar 2013 Pregnancy Centers: Restoring Fatherhood Webinar 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 1 PRC’s on the Frontlines of Restoring Fatherhood, Restoring Families ________________________________________________ Integrating Responsible Fatherhood Programming in Pregnancy Centers The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative your LIFE work… And think more about it as promoting… Life ABUNDANT! I want you to re-think … 2
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 3 Stages of Adoption  Awareness I know there is a problem.  Interest I want to find out more.  Decision I have to do something.  Implementation This is what I am going to do.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative I attended either the PRC’s on the Frontlines of Restoring Fatherhood last October (2012)? And/or the workshop Reaching Men at the recent Care Net Conference in Denver?  Yes  No POLL 4
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Our Center is intentional about reaching out to fathers (or fathers to be):  All the time  Sometimes  We need help!  Not really  Never POLL 5
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Our Center has partners with other agencies for resources and services for fathers or fathers to be:  Yes  No  Not really  We’d like to POLL 6
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Who is NFI? Understand Why Fathers Matter and are worth the effort Recognize some barriers to father engagement Involving Moms in Involving Dads Talk about your center’s Father Friendliness and... Some Next Steps Q&A In today’s webinar we will... 7
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative NFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that was founded in 1994 to begin a society-wide movement to renew fatherhood in America. 8 NFI’s Mission is carried out using a “Three E” Strategy Who is National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI)?
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative NFI, continued Key Message: Fathers are Irreplaceable & an Essential Ingredient for Child Well-Being
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative So, What Areas do Fatherlessness Impact?  Poverty  Emotional/Behavior  Maternal and Child health  Crime/Incarceration  Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy  Child Abuse  Child Obesity  Education
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Impact on Maternal and Child Health:  Babies with a father’s name on the birth certificate are 4 times more likely to live past 1 year of age!  Source: Alio, A.P., Mbah, A.K., Kornosky, J.L., Marty, P.J. & Salihu, H.M. "The Impact of Paternal Involvement on Feto-Infant. Morbidity among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics". Matern Child Health J. 2010; 14(5): 735-41  Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.  Source: Matthews, T.J., Sally C. Curtin, and Marian F. MacDorman. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 1998 Period Linked Birth/Infant  A study of 2,921 mothers revealed that single mothers were twice as likely as married mothers to experience a bout of depression in the prior year. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support.  Source: Cairney, John and Michael Boyle et al. “Stress, Social Support and Depression in Single and Married Mothers.” Social. Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 38 (August 2003): 442-449
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Impact on Teen Pregnancy & Sexual Activity:  Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.  Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.  ...adolescents in father-absent homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers...the study also revealed a statistical significance between father absence and adolescent self-esteem  Source: Hendricks, C. S., Cesario, S. K., Murdaugh, C., Gibbons, M. E., Servonsky, E. J., Bobadilla, R. V., Hendricks, D. L., Spencer-. Morgan, B., & Tavakoli, A. (2005). The influence of father absence on the self- esteem and self-reported sexual activity of rural. Southern adolescents. ABNF Journal, 16, 124-131.): 442- 449  ...based on the study, findings, the inability to bond in satisfactory ways with a father or father figure may result in earlier onset of sexual activity and the higher risk of teen pregnancy.  Source: Burn, V. E. (2008). Living without a strong father figure: A context for teen mothers’ experience of having become sexually active. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 29, 279–297.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 13 Children in father-absent homes are two to five times more likely to:  live in poverty  fail in school  develop emotional or behavioral problems  abuse drugs  be abused and neglected  become involved in crime  commit suicide Why Fathers Matter – at a glance: > The Consequences of Father Absence > The Benefits of Father Involvement Children with involved fathers are more likely to have:  better cognitive outcomes, even as infants  higher self-esteem and less depression as teenagers  higher grades, test scores, and overall academic achievement  lower levels of drug and alcohol use  higher levels of empathy and other pro-social behavior
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative NFI’s National Surveys
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative There is a father absence crisis... 93 91 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Percent who agree there is a father absence crisis Moms Dads
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative … But Dads are Seen as “Replaceable” 55 66 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Percent of moms who agree that fathers are replaceable By mothers By other males What moms think…
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Do Dads Have the Skills? • Over half of dads feel they are replaceable. • Only half of dads reported that they felt ready to be fathers when they first became fathers. • Only a third of dads strongly agree with the statement that they have all the necessary skills and knowledge to be good fathers. What Dads think… 2006 Pop’s Culture: A National Survey of Dads’ Attitudes on Fathering
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Do Dads Have the Skills? (cont.) • Moms not living with dads reported “lack of knowledge about how to be a good dad” as the biggest obstacle to good fathering and “lack of parenting resources designed specifically for fathers” as 3rd highest. These obstacles ranked 3rd and 4th for moms overall! • Moms not living with dads were very dissatisfied with dad’s performance… 2009 Mama Says: A National Survey of Mothers’ Attitudes on Fathering What Moms think…
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Moms and Dads Disagree on Obstacles What Dads Overall Think The Obstacles Are 1. Work responsibilities 2. Media/popular culture 3. Financial problems 4. Lack of knowledge 5. Child’s mother* What Moms Overall Think The Obstacles Are 1. Work responsibilities 2. Dad’s relationship with own dad 3. Lack of knowledge 4. Lack of parenting resources for dads 5. Lack of support from relatives/friends
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative New or Expectant Fathers say...  My dad was never there. I want to be there for my kids.  I realize the impact that my father had on me. Even though he wasn’t there, he made a huge impact on my life- he left a lot of questions unanswered.  I’m here because I want to do things right!  I want to give my child the one thing I never had, an involved father!  I want to get this one right!  A survey of 1521 working dads in 2007 indicated that 38 percent would take a pay cut to spend more time with their children
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative The following part of the presentation is taken from a webinar presented by the National Resource Center for In-Home Services and National Fatherhood Initiative Barriers? What Barriers? 21
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 22 NRFCBI Logic Model The National Resource Center for In-Home Services, a service of the Children’s Bureau’s national child welfare Training and Technical Assistance Network, serves as a national center of child welfare expertise on In-home services designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in their homes, prevent their initial placement or reentry into foster care, and preserve, support and stabilize their families.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 23 NRFCBI Logic Model The NRC for In-Home Services promotes EARLY efforts to engage nonresident fathers in:  Hospital-based parenting programs  Home-visiting programs  Early-childhood programs  Family-support programs  Family-preservation services offered to families involved with the child protection system  Services to prevent placement
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 24 NRFCBI Logic Model The Role of Nonresident Fathers in Maintaining Children Safely at Home  Studies specific to families involved with the child welfare system have found that:  Children who had contact with a noncustodial parent in the last year were 46% less likely to enter foster care  Involvement by nonresident fathers associated with more reunifications and fewer adoptions  Higher levels of nonresident father involvement are associated with substantially lower likelihood of later maltreatment allegations  Children with highly involved nonresident fathers exited foster care more quickly Sources: Chen, Henry. Karin, Malm, and Erica Zielewski. More About the Dads: Exploring Associations between Nonresident Father Involvement and Child Welfare Case Outcomes. Washington, DC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation 2008 available at; “A National Study of Male Involvement Among Families in Contact with the Child Welfare System” Jennifer L. Bellamy, Child Maltreatment 2009, 14:255-262
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 25 NRFCBI Logic Model A Few Stats about Fathers...  67.8 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation  25.8 million: Number of fathers who were part of married couple families with children younger than 18 in 2009  24 million: (34 percent): Number of children who live absent their biological father  Source: National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Dad Stats. Available at:
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 26 NRFCBI Logic Model What About The Dads? 2006 Report- What About the Dads Data based on telephone interviews with 1,222 caseworkers in four states
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 27 NRFCBI Logic Model Importance of Father Involvement  Increases informal supports and resources  Promotes family and cultural connections  More “eyes” on the well-being of the child  Facilitates concurrent planning, when necessary  Gives you (and the child) a greater understanding about his/her life
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 28 NRFCBI Logic Model Foster Youth Talk About Fathers “Every kid has a right to know their father.” “Having a male as part of your life is a big deal. There is just a connection that father and son have that cannot be replaced. [I think child advocates should] try their best to make sure that there is a connection with son and father.” “I didn’t talk to my dad from the time I was 4 to 14. I lived with him for 6 months while I was 14. Now we talk just about every day.” I think that once the state gets involved with children, fathers tend to stay away, so [child advocates] or some other service providers should work on keeping fathers involved with their kids.” Source: “Engaging Fathers in Child Welfare Cases: A Guide for Children’s Attorneys and Lawyer Guardians ad Litem: and “Engaging Nonresident Fathers in Child Welfare Cases: A Guide for Court Appointed Special Advocates” Washington, DC: American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, 2010.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 29 NRFCBI Logic Model Barriers to Engagement Studies suggest that fathers are not engaged in child welfare processes because: Child welfare agencies have a history of being primarily mother focused Some child welfare caseworkers view involving fathers as complicated and burdensome Child welfare agencies are hesitant or fear involving fathers with a history of domestic violence because their engagement may compromise mothers’ and children’s safety Sources: Dungee Greene, A. & Anderson Moore, K. “Nonresident Father Involvement and Child Well-Being among Young Children in Families on Welfare.: Marriage & Family Review, 29(2/3), 2000, 159-180; Franck, E. “Outreach to Birthfathers of Children in Out of Home Care.” Child Welfare, 80(3) 2001,381-399; Malm, Murray & Geen, 2006; O’Hagan, K. “The Problem of Engaging Men in Child Protection Work.” British Journal of Social Work, 27(1), 1997,25-42.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 30 NRFCBI Logic Model Barriers to Engagement Studies suggest that fathers are not engaged in child welfare processes because: Child welfare caseworkers may view fathers as insignificant to the family unit, or may avoid fathers out of fear of violent reactions, or have a general distrust of men Some fathers need assistance with parenting skills before assuming a more prominent role in their children’s lives Some out-of-State fathers cannot access reliable transportation Sources: Dungee Greene, A. & Anderson Moore, K. “Nonresident Father Involvement and Child Well-Being among Young Children in Families on Welfare.: Marriage & Family Review, 29(2/3), 2000, 159-180; Franck, E. “Outreach to Birthfathers of Children in Out of Home Care.” Child Welfare, 80(3) 2001,381-399; Malm, Murray & Geen, 2006; O’Hagan, K. “The Problem of Engaging Men in Child Protection Work.” British Journal of Social Work, 27(1), 1997,25-42.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 31 NRFCBI Logic Model Mother’s Role in Engagement Some studies have also revealed several reasons why mothers and relatives do not identify or engage fathers, including: Concerns that he might get in trouble with the law because he has outstanding child support payments, or owes a large sum of back payments He is an undocumented immigrant He has outstanding arrest warrants There is a history of domestic violence and the mother fears for her and her children’s safety The mother receives informal financial and in-kind support from the father, and chooses to conceal the father from child welfare authorities who could order him to pay child support (which may be less than what she receives from him already) Sources: Curran, Laura. “Social Work and Fathers: Child Support and Fathering Programs.” Social Work 48(2), 2003; Sonenstein, Freya, Karen Malm & Amy Billing. Study of Fathers’ Involvement in Permanency Planning and Child Welfare Casework. Washington, DC; Urban Institute 2002.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 32 NRFCBI Logic Model Barriers to Engagement The Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers (QIC-NRF) conducted numerous focus group and interviews with child welfare professionals, asking them what their barriers to father engagement were. They said: Lack of training for child welfare professionals Unfriendly “father” environment Lack of interagency collaboration to locate fathers (e.g. child support agency connections Lack of policy/procedures to help identify, locate, and contact fathers Worker reluctance to contact fathers Feeling that it makes case management more difficult Mothers act as “gatekeepers” Fathers don’t want to be contacted Protecting informal support arrangement Domestic violence issues Don’t know the father’s identity
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Barriers to Engagement: What are the barriers in pregnancy centers? Men in the center? (what is the message—are all men unsafe?) Are we waiting for all things to fall in place? (will that ever happen?) Are assumptions for what is best correct? Wasting God given opportunities? Can’t get male volunteers
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 34 Maternal Gatekeeping: Involving Moms in Involving Dads ________________________________________________
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Defining Terms: Gateway: an opening to a main entrance or exit way. Gatekeeper: a person who controls access. Merriam Webster’s Definitions
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 36 Maternal Gatekeeping  Definition  A collection of beliefs and behaviors that may inhibit a collaborative effort between men and women in family work.  Behaviors  Assume primary responsibility for childrearing tasks.  Criticize the father’s actions when he is involved.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Behavioral Aspects  How the mother speaks about the father in the presence of their child  To what extent the father is included or updated on the child’s health, schooling or social life  The extent to which the mother communicates to the father that she knows what is best for their child and the correct way to do things—while he does not. An example from a “fatherhood expert”: Dads Doing Good- Mobile Library Dad's Doing Good/Honda Odyssey/ Mobile Library
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Behavioral Aspects  Studies have demonstrated that when mothers perceived their partners as motivated and competent to engage in child care responsibilities, fathers were more involved in childcare.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Reasons for Maternal Gatekeeping Beliefs (conscious/unconscious) Difficulty relinquishing familial responsibility Validation of her identity as the “mother” View the father as incompetent or even dangerous to the child  Based on actual evidence; or  On personal perceptions of him and his failures in the male familial role  Don’t know? – Do know? Goal Regulate the father’s involvement and behavior. (facilitative or inhibitory) Allen, S. M., & Hawkins, A. J. (1999). Maternal gatekeeping: Mothers’ beliefs and behaviors that inhibit greater father involvement in family work. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 199–212. 39
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Affects of Maternal Gatekeeping  The ability of the child to adjust to parental divorce or separation is weakened  Can damage the father-child relationship  Can damage the parents’ ability to cooperate and keep their conflict levels low and out of the child’s earshot or awareness  Threat to the overall well-being and adjustment of the child 40
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Research  Overall, the implication is that the relationship between father’s perceived investment in their actual levels of paternal involvement are moderated by mothers beliefs about the role of the father.  There is a strong implication that mothers perceptions of the paternal role are better predictors of father involvement than fathers’ own perceptions of the paternal role. Paternal Identity, Maternal Gatekeeping, and Father Involvement (Family Relations, 54 (July 2005), 360- 372.Blackwell Publishing.)
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Dr. Kyle Pruett Study  Mothers hold infants 9 out 10 times in the same position. Fathers hold infants10 out of 10 times in different positions.  During play with children, mothers use external objects (ex., toys, books, balls) but fathers use their bodies.  When children encounter novel situations, fathers are generally 3 times the distance away from mothers’ position. Different- not better!
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 43 Involvement Benefits Mothers  More likely to obtain prenatal care  More likely to breast feed  Less likely to smoke  Less likely to become depressed
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative 44 Involvement Benefits Babies  Less likely to be Low Birth Weight infants  More likely to be breast fed  Nutrition  Immune benefits  Fewer respiratory and allergic disorders  Less likely to develop SIDS and respiratory illness if mother is a non smoker
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Things to include when addressing Gatekeeping:  Increase mothers’ awareness of what gatekeeping is, how it operates, and how it is sometimes misused out of anger and hurt  Offer concrete examples that will facilitate mothers’ understanding of the negative impact of excessive gatekeeping and the importance of supporting father involvement (one hand)  Engage mothers in exercises that will facilitate the reduction of restrictive maternal gatekeeping behaviors that inhibit father engagement.  Great to have staff go through the same exercises as part of professional development
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Tool Box Strategies  Conduct Father Friendly Check Up™  Keep focus on the Child well being  Use Mom As Gateway™ workshop  Use Understanding Dad™ program  Ask about dads’ involvement during initial intake process with moms- Pursue! Ask!  Create opportunities for dads and their kids to do activities together and market to moms as a “Mom’s Day Off”  Offer sessions to staff on gender and parenting differences between moms and dads  Offer sessions to moms on gender and parenting differences between moms and dads
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Tool Box Strategies  Plan activities that will engage dads’ interest  Small groups  Fatherhood Resource Centers  Provide, refer, or connect dads to other father programs  Sports related  Hands-on
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Can’t BE what you don’t SEE  Increasing the skills of the dad, increases the dad’s confidence as a father.  Increasing the skills of the dad, increases the mom’s confidence in him!   FatherTopics™ Workshop : Essential Communication Skills® Domestic Violence Prevention® Mom As Gateway® Build up Dad’s Skills 48
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative What Can PRC’s Do to Engage Fathers? 49 The Father-Friendly Check-Up™ The Father Friendly Check-Up™ is a stepping stone to help you successfully engage dads and strengthen the families in your community! This tool helps you assess the degree to which your organization’s operations encourage father involvement in the activities and programs offered by your organization.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Benefits  Learn to create a father-friendly organization from a holistic perspective  Ability to identify the four areas of focus  Create an organizational culture that can support exceptional fatherhood programs and services  Have a foundation for a strategic plan to increase father- friendliness  Sample of PRC Strategic Plan available on request  No and low-cost tactics  Encourage leadership/colleagues/co-workers to complete the Father Friendly Check-Up™  Determine how NFI can help you develop and sustain exceptional fatherhood programs and services with next steps
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Father Involvement Factors Motivation Social Supports Skills and Self-Confidence Institutional/ Cultural Factors FATHER INVOLVEMENT Source: “The Role of the Father in Child Development” edited by Michael Lamb, Ph.D.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Motivation & Skills & Self-Confidence DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY  Model of own father  Father’s age  Marital history/status  Socialization around birth of child PERSONALITY  Gender-role orientation  Self-esteem BELIEFS  Father’s role is important  Men are competent parents SELF-EFFICACY  Believes has skills necessary to be a good father and parent PARENTAL KNOWLEDGE  Child development
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Social Supports & Institutional/Cultural Factors  Mother’s employment  Quality of marriage  Men’s social networks  Father’s employment  Media  Other institutions/sectors  Government, Education, Faith, etc.
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative History of the Father Friendly Check-Up™  NFI Developed the tool and workshop in 2000  Used by organizations in every state  Via workshop or conference session  Via NFI website  Created customized versions for many organizations  Designed to help build capacity in  Leadership Development  Organizational Development  Program Development  Community Engagement
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Assessment Categories  Leadership Development  Focuses on influencing the attitudes, beliefs, and values held by the organization’s employees at all levels on the importance of serving fathers—the culture of the organization  Organizational Development  Involves how the “nuts and bolts” of an organization ensures that it carries out its mission through better organizational capacity as reflected in areas such as: 1) policies, procedures, and processes 2) staff development and training, and 3) physical environment
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Assessment Categories, continued  Program Development  The foundation of an effective program relies on quality staff and resources, and effective strategies to recruit and retain fathers  Community Engagement  It is the essential ability to engage the communities, increase awareness of the impact of absent/involved fathers to their community and of resources available to help fathers become more involved, responsible, and committed
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Staff • Gender Bias • Interview questions/vignettes • Staff training around gender differences and parenting styles • Different vs. better • Female Brain compared to Male Brain • Balance of work and family • Addressing parents in home visits • Feedback to parents in their differences and the way the child responds
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Program Development  Family driven especially around sensitive issues  Father Friendly Curricula  Learning style  Hands on  Interactive  Ages Stages/Social Emotional
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Case Study #1: PCC of Wichita, KS  Pregnancy Care Center  Provides guidance on decisions around and services related to unplanned pregnancies and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases (e.g. testing and counseling)  Historically served mothers, little or no outreach to fathers  Now offer several classes for fathers including NFI’s 24/7 Dad® and Doctor Dad®  Visit for more information
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Test Center 60 Sav-A-Life Fatherhood Ministry Coordinator -Russell Worrell Birmingham, Alabama
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Father Friendly Check-Up®  Available free for download on NFI website ( in Free Resources in the For Organizations section of the website  Use it to gauge how your co-workers view the father friendliness of your organization  Encourage your co-workers and others to complete it  Complete it at different intervals after implementing a strategic plan and tactics (e.g. 6 months, 1 year, 18 months) to see how the organization progresses toward becoming more father friendly—compare scores
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative What Can PRC’s Do to Engage Fathers? 62  Look at your Mission Statement  Reception Room- Décor  Scripts  Forms  Staff- male?  Services  Partnerships
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative What Can PRC’s Do to Engage Fathers? Reception Area: Is the reception area father friendly? Magazines for men? Do you have materials for men/dads? Do you have forms for them to fill out? Do you have a male staff for him to speak with?
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative What Can PRC’s Do to Engage Fathers? Scripts Many scripts include an invite to bring “someone”  Make a specific invite to bring the father  Be aware of the messages center is giving Look for God given opportunities to reach dads  Ask about the father situation- at least ask! Teach staff to ask the questions- more questions  What do you think of when I say ‘daddy’?  How did you feel about that situation? Etc. If no male staff or volunteer- make sure the female staff has a heart for the father
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative What Can PRC’s Do to Engage Fathers? Generate interest! Events focused on father involvement Conduct a focus group of fathers Conduct a focus group of mothers Determine/Acknowledge the barriers  Are all fathers considered as perpetrators or dangerous?  Or in need of direction, support and skills? Tie everything back to the Values-  Are they promoting single motherhood or  Are they promoting Life …  Or ABUNDANTLife?
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Margaret Mead “The primary task  of every civilization is to teach  the young men to be fathers.”
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative “From the loving example of one family  a whole state becomes loving.” - the Great Learning (c.500 B.C) Confucius 67
  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to  their fathers...” Malachi 4:6 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus  storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may  take hold of that which is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:18-19 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 God 68
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  • ©2013 National Fatherhood Initiative Q & A 70