A Renewed Focus on Fathers

David A. Jones

By David A. Jones

Fathers can play a pivotal role in the care, education, guidance, love, and economic stability of their children and families. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is dedicated to finding ways to communicate, engage, and provide essential support to fathers. Since we're approaching Father's Day, we want to celebrate just a few of the many efforts made by offices within ACF.

The Office of Family Assistance's mission is serving families through fostering economic stability. Through the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood program, ACF funded a local network of 21 organizations in 47 states to provide comprehensive healthy relationships and marriage education services, responsible parenting, and job and career advance activities.

A father helps his daughter wash her hands

The Office of Head Start is known for its innovative approaches to supporting children and families, with over 1.3 million children in care daily. The Head Start Father Engagement Birth to Five Programming Guide helps programs integrate all of their fatherhood activities' with thoughtful professional development, continuous improvement, supervision, and training.

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation has done several studies looking at father engagement and experiences, and they are also great resources to help us expand our thinking about service supports for fathers.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has focused on strengthening polices to ensure they work for families. The Child Support Program collected $28.6 billion for almost 16 million children in 2015, and 95 percent of the money collected was paid to families. Yet, families need more than child support income, and the office has a number of programs that can help families' manage their budget. OCSE works inside ACF and with state agencies to run these programs, such as the CO-PEP program in Colorado (read about how it put one father back on his feet and supporting his kids).

A father puts shoes on his son

We can celebrate the work that's already being done, but also look forward. This Father's Day, I'd ask that you explore ways to enhance the work you do on a daily basis to support the needs of fathers.

David Jones is a Program Specialist for the Office of Head Start. This blog was originally posted on ACF's Family Room Blog.

A Renewed Focus on Fathers. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2016. English.

Last Reviewed: June 2016

Last Updated: June 15, 2016