Engaging At-Risk Fathers in Home Visiting Services: Effects on Program Retention and Father Involvement

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Healthy Families New York (HFNY) is an evidence-based home visiting program for expectant and new parents in socioeconomically disadvantaged families at elevated risk for child maltreatment and other adverse outcomes. HFNY makes concerted efforts to promote a father-inclusive culture and increase engagement of fathers in all aspects of home visiting. This study describes fathers’ participation in HFNY and examines how fathers’ participation relates to program retention and to father–child coresidency and father involvement. Program data were extracted from HFNY’s data management system. Program participation was measured by whether the father ever participated in a home visit. The sample includes 3341 families enrolled from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015. Program retention, father’s co-residency and father involvement were measured at the child’s 6 months follow-up. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios. Results showed that when fathers participated in home visiting, families were more than four times as likely to be retained in the program. Additionally, fathers who were engaged were more likely to live at home with the child and to remain emotionally involved at 6 months. The data support the advancement of policy and practice to encourage participation of fathers in high-risk families in home visiting services.



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