Responsible Fatherhood

“Responsible fathering means being present in a child’s life, actively contributing to a child’s healthy development, sharing economic responsibilities, and cooperating with a child’s mother in addressing the full range of a child’s and family’s needs.”
-President Barack Obama

Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Demonstration Grants

Recent research shows that children do better when their fathers are present in their lives. Other results show that children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.

ACF funded 55 organizations across the United States to provide Responsible Fatherhood activities. Grantees are called upon to help fathers:

  • Improve their relationship with their spouses, significant others, and/or the mothers of their children.
  • Become better parents.
  • Contribute to the financial well-being of their children by providing job training.

The following three Responsible Fatherhood activities are specified in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010:

1. Healthy Marriage – Activities to promote marriage or sustain marriage through activities, such as:

  • Providing information about the benefits of marriage and two-parent involvement for children.
  • Enhancing relationship skills.
  • Education regarding how to control aggressive behavior.
  • Disseminating information on the causes of domestic violence and child abuse.
  • Marriage preparation programs and premarital counseling.
  • Skills-based marriage education.
  • Financial planning seminars.
  • Divorce education and reduction programs, including mediation and counseling.

2.  Responsible Parenting – Activities to promote responsible parenting, such as:

  • Counseling, mentoring, and mediation.
  • Disseminating information about good parenting practices.
  • Teaching parenting skills.
  • Encouraging child support payments.

3. Economic Stability – Activities to foster economic stability, such as:

  • Helping fathers improve their economic status by providing activities such as job training, employment services, and career-advancing education.
  • Coordination with existing employment services such as welfare-to-work programs, referrals to local employment training initiatives.

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

The Clearinghouse ( serves as a resource for responsible fatherhood information, designed to promote and encourage the appropriate involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. The Clearinghouse provides access to curricula, webinars, research products, and other resources to improve the implementation and success of their programs.