Below are tips for addressing common challenges that prevent fathers from continuously attending programs, as well as stories from dads about why they stayed in programs and from practitioners on retention strategies they use.
Advice from the Field
“…retention strategies include engagement efforts on an ongoing basis or scheduled to resume when participation is difficult (e.g. work conflicts, incarceration), weekly phone calls to class participants, engagement emphasis for absentees (e.g. increased communication, attention to clients’ needs, and collaboration with referring agency caseworkers), text messaging utilized heavily toward voice-to-voice and face-to-face interaction, and mentor-navigators who can help class participants with real-life issues.”
-NewDay Services for Children and Families Staff Member
Trying to keep fathers in your organization’s programs?
Whether you provide father-focused programs or programs for the whole family, these tips can help guide your retention efforts:
- Work around fathers’ work schedules
- Adapt the program length
- Use creative solutions
- Make fathers feel valued and connected
This tip card from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse provides tips for program attendance and retention.
Father Stories: Why do fathers stay in the fatherhood program?
Fathers share why they stayed involved in the fatherhood programs, including transportation assistance, personal connections, and communication from program staff.
The Child and Family Research Partnership, an independent, nonpartisan research center at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, conducted these interviews as a part of the 2017 evaluation of the Department of Family and Protective Services’ Prevention and Early Intervention Division’s (PEI) Fatherhood EFFECT Programs. Read more about the EFFECT evaluation here.
Practitioner Stories: Housing Authority of the City of Austin
Thanks to Joshua Banks with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin for creating this video as an important example of using technology and other strategies to serve fathers in Texas!
Practitioner Stories: NewDay Services
Thanks to Tommy Jordan and David Larry with NewDay Services for creating this video as an important example of using a variety of strategies to serve fathers in Texas!
Practitioner Stories: Arlington ISD, Dads Engaged for Excellenc
Thanks to Eric Phillips with Arlington ISD, Dads Engaged for Excellence for creating this video on the various programs Arlington ISD employs to encourage fathers to stay involved in their children’s academic lives, other supports to promote father engagement, and how Arlington ISD regularly communicates with fathers!