What Makes for a Successful “Teen” Fatherhood Program?

13 February 2009

Promising Teen Fatherhood Programs (in the US): Initial evidence lessons from evidence-based research

by Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew, Mary Burkhauser, & Allison Metz (January, 2009)

Commissioned and published in the CHILD TRENDS newsletter 28 January 2009
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What makes for a good programme for teenage – i.e. very young – fathers? These tend to be a particularly high need group and to differ substantially from older fathers, including from those in their early twenties. This paper identifies ten key characteristics of “model” (i.e. superbly evaluated) and ”promising” (very well evaluated) teenage fatherhood programmes in the United States.

The key findings are that these programmes:

  • Partnered with community organizations such as schools, pre-natal clinics and programs for teen mothers to help recruit and engage teen fathers.
  • Had program staff develop one-on-one relationships with teen fathers, through individual case management, or through mentoring services, and when they did engage with the young fathers in groups (either male-only or with their partners), these groups were SMALL.
  • Offered a comprehensive array of services to teen fathers that went beyond only parenting information.
  • Began with a theoretical program model and used theories of change or logic models that were effective with adolescent parents.
  • Delivered services in engaging and interactive ways.
  • Conducted needs assessments and/or used participant feedback to provide teen fathers the services they wanted.
  • Hired professionals who were experienced, empathetic, enthusiastic, well-connected in the community, and carefully matched to participants.
  • Incorporated teaching methods and materials that were appropriate for teen fathers and their culture and age.
  • Used an incentive with teen fathers and their families.
  • Mentored teen fathers.

To find out more. . .

The more detailed report, Elements of Promising Practice in Teen Fatherhood Programs: evidence-based and evidence-informed research findings on what works can be read in full HERE

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