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Responsible Fatherhood

Dad holding son on shoulderNew Pathways for Fathers and Families Demonstration Grants

Studies have shown that involved fathers provide practical support in raising children and serve as models for their development (Allen and Daly, 2007).i Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, and exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

ACF currently funds 36 organizations across the United States to provide Responsible Fatherhood activities. Grantees are called upon to help fathers:

  • Strengthen positive father-child engagement
  • Improve employment and economic mobility opportunities; and
  • Foster responsible parenting and build healthy relationships (including couple and co-parenting) and marriage.

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 about 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 and referrals to local employment training initiatives.

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

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

i Allen, S., & Daly, K. (2007). The effects of father involvement: An updated research summary of the evidence inventory. Guelph, Ontario: Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being, University of Guelph. Retrieved from

Last Reviewed: April 30, 2019