The Fatherhood Research and Practice Network (FRPN) is a five-year national project funded through the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. The goals of the FRPN are to:
- Promote rigorous evaluation of fatherhood programs that serve low-income fathers. FRPN will fund the evaluation of programs that aim to increase paternal engagement and parenting skills; improve fathers’ ability to provide economic support; and increase parenting time, father-child contact, positive coparenting and healthy relationships.
- Expand the number of researchers and practitioners collaborating to evaluate fatherhood programs through in-person and virtual trainings.
- Disseminate information, including new evaluation findings, that leads to effective fatherhood practice and evaluation research.
This project is led by Jay Fagan, Ph.D., professor of social work at Temple University and founding editor of the journal Fathering, and Jessica Pearson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Policy Research in Denver, Colorado. FRPN also includes a steering committee and four workgroups consisting of approximately 40 leading national fatherhood researchers and practitioners who help guide the direction of the project.
Why is the FRPN needed?
1. The evaluation of fatherhood programs involves multiple disciplines, but there are limited opportunities for:
- Researchers to engage in dialogue or work collaboratively to improve next-stage work.
- Practitioners to work closely with researchers.
- Researchers and practitioners to share information about effective practice.
2. There is a large and growing body of research on how fathers positively influence child development and well-being, but there is:
- Limited knowledge about which interventions are most effective with low-income, non-resident fathers and under-studied populations.
- Limited evidence about how these interventions affect fathers, children and families.
- A lack of rigorous research about effective interventions with low-income fathers facing additional challenges.
3. There is need for improvement in the areas of:
- Disseminating information in formats of greatest use to specific audiences.
- Building capacity in the fatherhood field to support and conduct well designed, scientifically valid evaluation studies among researchers and practitioners.