Final Implementation Findings from the Responsible Fatherhood Reentry Projects

Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Final Implementation Findings from the Responsible Fatherhood Reentry Projects

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Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What are the characteristics of the grantee organizations and their partnerships with agencies and community-based organizations?
  2. What are the program models’ features, including target populations, outreach strategies, and key services. How are programs staffed and managed?
  3. What are the issues and challenges in designing, implementing, and operating the programs?

The evaluation of the Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”) documented the implementation of six programs designed to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self-sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This report presents the findings from the evaluation and provides an overview of the activities implemented by the programs, describes their various approaches to implementation, and identifies the implementation challenges they faced and the solutions they used to overcome those challenges. We conclude with recommendations for practitioners and funders looking to fund, design, and implement similar family-focused programs.

Purpose

Based on the literature, there is much to learn from implementation assessments of family-focused reentry programs, and these programs may help mitigate the impact of incarceration on people experiencing incarceration and their families. Given the promise of fatherhood reentry programs, the purpose of this evaluation was to document program implementation to add to the field’s understanding of implementation across several dimensions, including successes and challenges.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • The programs evolved over time in response to participants’ needs and local contexts.
  • The programs implemented flexible program models with different services and activities.
  • Varied approaches to implementation presented different advantages for serving participants and for system-level coordination.
  • Partnerships were central to how the programs delivered activities and services.
  • Creative thinking helped the programs make midcourse adjustments and overcome implementation challenges.

Methods

From October 2011 through September 2015, the evaluation team engaged in data collection activities including reviews of program materials and documents, bimonthly teleconferences with core program staff to discuss program implementation and key modifications, site visits to observe staff-selected program operations and activities, semi-structured interviews with a broader set of program staff and stakeholders to gather more data on implementation, and participant focus groups to clarify their perspectives on program implementation.

The evaluation team reviewed project notes and program documents to understand the key aspects of and approaches to implementation, how implementation changed over time, as well as the reasons core program staff gave for these changes. Throughout the data collection period, the team noted any aspect of implementation that program staff reported as working well or being challenging as well as the methods staff found useful for overcoming implementation challenges.

Recommendations

  • Be flexible and ready to adapt program offerings to meet participants’ needs and respond to changes in policy and context.
  • Be open to providing additional activities and services or prioritizing activities and services as needed.
  • Meet families where they are.
  • Build effective partnership networks.

Citation

Fontaine, Jocelyn, Lindsey Cramer, Emma Kurs, Ellen Paddock, Josh Eisenstat, Jeremy Levy, and Jeanette Hussemann (2017). Final Implementation Findings from the Responsible Fatherhood Reentry Projects, OPRE Report #2017-05, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

FOA:
funding opportunity announcement
KISRA:
Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action, Inc.
LSS:
Lutheran Social Services
NJDOC:
New Jersey Department of Corrections Office of Substance Abuse Programming and Addiction Services
PB&J:
PB&J Family Services, Inc.
RIDGE:
The RIDGE Project, Inc.
Rubicon:
Rubicon Programs, Inc.
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