The importance of father engagement has been elevated in the United States, both nationally and locally. The child welfare system recognizes this and has started to make some important strides in engaging fathers from the beginning of their involvement with them throughout the duration of their working relationship.
Training staff and stakeholders is an important instrument in:
- Teaching policies and procedures related to father engagement
- Imparting county values and principles related to the provision of services
- Teaching the importance of father awareness and involvement
- Conveying the steps to implementing a specific county program related to father engagement
Father Engagement in Child Welfare
This micro-learning will discuss the "why" - why it is important to engage fathers early on and the "how" - How we engage with fathers. We will present video interviews from experts, the fathers themselves, who are paving the way for others to successfully bond and attach with their children. Valuable resources and top tips will be presented on what father engagement looks like, as well as "take-aways" social workers can use in the field and working with families.
Curricula and Training Materials
Here are several training curricula that can be used and/or adapted for your purposes:
1. Working with the African American Father: The Forgotten Parent - The content of this curriculum includes lecture and discussion about historical trauma, bias against fathers, and solutions to address bias and fairness and equity issues.
2. Fantastic Fathers - This document, created by the Victoria Family Violence Prevention Society in collaboration with The Victoria Women's Transition House Society, is a facilitator's guide and offers a curriculum to trainers on how to conduct an experiential and educational support group for fathers.
3. Engaging the Non-Resident Father - This curriculum, funded by the National Quality Improvement Center, is designed it for social workers. It provides introductory information about the importance of engaging non-resident fathers, values of engagement, culture of manhood and fatherhood, and suggestions about direct practice with fathers.
4. Representing Non-Resident Fathers - This curriculum, created by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law on behalf of the National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System, is a multi-module curriculum that teaches staff how to advocate for and represent fathers in court.
5. Engaging Absent Fathers - This 12-hour training, developed by the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program, teaches about the importance of locating and engaging fathers, identifying informal support services, and identifying fathers as permanent placement options.
6. InsideOut Dad™ - This curriculum is a good resource for staff as they help fathers while they are currently incarcerated and then after they are released. The course consists of 12 one-hour mini-modules on various topics. The National Fatherhood Initiative charges a nominal fee for the training.
These tips can be used for individual and for group or community learning and/or can be combined or adapted to meet county/organizational training needs:
These videos can be used for individual and for group or community learning and/or can be combined or adapted to meet county/organizational training needs:
- This spoken word video, by Daniel Beatty, is a poignant personal reflection of living without a father.
- Dads attending to children - a brief video clip of fathers attending to their children while the children are at school
- Father/child play - a brief video clip of fathers playing with their children
- Digital Stories by Fathers involved with the child protective system
- What about Fathers? A Child Welfare Documentar - This documentary produced by the Northern Academy shines a spotlight on CWS efforts to bring fathers out of the shadows and into their children's lives.