The Fathers at Work Initiative aimed to help young, noncustodial fathers increase their employment and earnings, become more involved in their children’s lives, and increase their financial support of their children.
Six employment and training organizations implemented the Fathers at Work Initiative. All sites offered three strategies: employment services, fatherhood workshops, and child support services. Each site had flexibility to determine how services were provided and diverged in how they provided skills training, the intensity of available fatherhood services, and the way they worked with child support agencies.
Employment services included employment preparation, placement, and retention support to help fathers keep and advance in their jobs. Most sites focused their employment services on short-term job-readiness training and job search assistance, limited skills training, and paid transitional work; one site offered long-term training options. All sites provided employment retention support, largely through monthly phone calls initiated by staff after participants completed the program.
The fatherhood workshops that all sites offered were based on Fatherhood Development, a curriculum that uses peer support groups and workshops to teach parenting and communication skills and provide a safe space for young fathers to engage with others in similar situations. In addition to providing fatherhood skills through workshops, sites provided appropriate outlets for fathers to interact with their children. Finally, each organization was required to develop a new partnership and formal relationship with its respective child support enforcement agency to better help participants navigate the child support system meet their obligations.
Fathers at Work programs and child support agencies worked together to provide child support services. Child support services varied across sites and included providing fathers with accurate information about child support, discussing the importance of providing formal support, modifying child support orders, setting reserve or minimum support orders, consolidating petitions on multiple child support cases, reducing penalties for arrears, offering paternity establishment at each implementing site, and assisting with other issues as needed.
Participants were noncustodial fathers 30 years old or younger earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The initiative operated in five cities: New York City; Philadelphia; Richmond, CA; Chicago; and Roanoke, VA.