A Sample of Napa County's Father Engagement Efforts (from beginning to end)

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  1. (DEVELOPMENT OF A TEAM) Whenever a new program or new way of doing business is initiated, it is recommended that a team be developed to help with getting the project off the ground. Team members may volunteer, be reassigned, or be selected to participate. Napa County developed a team, called “Roots,” to work on making the county more father friendly. The team consists of social workers, social work supervisors, support staff, etc. All the team members report to the department manager at least once a week, and she provides supervisory oversight to the team.

  2. (BUY-IN) It is not necessary to have staff buy-in, but it certainly makes implementation more seamless. Napa County held a department-wide meeting as a Kick-Off strategy for this project. Workers were invited to give input about the things that they would like to see in the county as it relates to father engagement. By doing this, the entire department was able to provide direct feedback about their hopes and concerns and as a result there was buy-in from staff at all levels.

  3. (TRAINING & AWARENESS) Training and information dissemination is a way to convey important messages to a large number of staff. In this instance, a county-wide father awareness training was held to educate and reinforce the importance of the impact of fathers in their children’s lives and the necessity to be more engaging with fathers in child welfare. A content expert was brought in to train the entire county.

  4. (LOGIC MODEL) A logic model may look different for different projects. Essentially it is a graphic depiction of resources, activities, and projected outcomes. It may contain goals and objectives. The logic model can be used as a road map, of sorts, and frames the direction that the county would like to go. It continually gets updated and revised as strategies are implemented, assessed, and evaluated. Napa County developed a Logic Model that would help them focus their attention on the strategies that they selected.

  5. (EVALUATION QUESTIONS) After the logic model has been created and/or in conjunction with the development of the logic model, questions of interest should be created that are aligned with the logic model and with anticipated outcomes. For example, Napa County selected questions about Father Engagement that they hoped would be answered as a result of their new practices. The questions are:
    1. Are staff attitudes about father engagement improved as a result of Napa County’s efforts?
    2. After connections have been identified, at disposition, do children maintain long-term relationships?
    3. Are more fathers involved in child welfare as a result of Napa County’s efforts?

      Napa County hopes to find the answers to these questions by analyzing data that it collects.

  6. (DATA COLLECTION) The data collection process is when the agency/organization collects and stores data that will be used for analysis at a later date. Use of Administrative Data and Databases is one form of data collection, sometimes called quantitative data. CWS/CMS, Safe Measures, and CSSR are excellent sources for gathering this type of data. Another form of data collection is through the use of non-administrative databases, sometimes called qualitative data. Surveys, direct observation, interviews, and/or focus groups are excellent sources for gathering this type of data.

    1. Napa County created a special projects code in CWS/CMS that would track families involved in their father engagement project. This made it easier for them to track, among other things:
      1. How many fathers are being served in the following programs:
        1. ER
        2. FM
        3. FR
        4. Court
        5. LT
      2. What is the ethnic breakdown of fathers who have been identified in each service component?
      3. What, if any, is the increase in the number of fathers being served pre- and post-father engagement activities?
      4. What percentage of fathers are living in the homes with their child(ren)?
      5. What is the average number of visits between fathers and their children within a certain time frame?

    2. Napa County created several data collection forms that would help:
      1. To learn about known and potential paternal contacts
      2. Special considerations about permanency
      3. To know related and non-related individuals who are connected to the family

    3. Napa County conducted an evaluation of a training session with a content expert. Attendees were asked to complete a survey at the end of this training.

  7. (DATA ANALYSIS) Data analysis is the process by which people look at their data and interpret what it means to them and their agency. Napa County analyzed their data from their training session and came up with the following results:
    1. Workers reported increased awareness about father engagement
    2. Workers felt that they learned something from the father awareness training and would practice what they learned in training to their job

      It is still too early to interpret results from the collection of other county data.