Engaging fathers early in child and family services has the potential to promote positive father contributions towards positive child development, improve family well-being, and enhance service outcomes over time. However, low father engagement in child and family services remains a persistent problem, and few interventions designed to improve father engagement in these services have been rigorously tested. The current study assesses the effect of a service enhancement intervention called Dads Matter–Home Visiting (Dads Matter–HV) on biological father engagement in home visiting services when compared to home visiting services delivered as usual. To assess the efficacy of the Dads Matter–HV intervention, the research team used a stratified cluster randomized clinical trial design with five agencies delivering early home visiting service programs. Seventeen teams across the five agencies were randomly assigned to either the control group condition (i.e., standard home visiting services as usual) or the intervention condition (i.e., Dads Matter–HV). Data were collected from a total of 204 families at baseline, 4 months postbaseline (92% retention rate), and 12 months postbaseline (84% retention rate). The results suggest that Dads Matter–HV increases biological father engagement for fathers who begin services in the postnatal period, but reduces engagement when services are initiated prenatally. Findings suggest some pathways through which the intervention effects engagement.
- Home visiting
- Randomized clinical trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health