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Responsible Fatherhood

Healthy Marriage

Effective Parenting

Economic Stability

Access, Visitation,
 & Child Support


Research, Evaluation,
 & Data

Program Development

Other Research Resources

Promoting Responsible Fatherhood
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Father and son playing basketball.

Responsible Fatherhood Grants

The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 provides funding of $150 million in each of five years for healthy marriage promotion and responsible fatherhood.  Each year, $75 million may be used for activities promoting fatherhood, such as counseling, mentoring, marriage education, enhancing relationship skills, parenting, and activities to foster economic stability.

Healthy Marriage

Healthy marriage services help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.

Effective Parenting

Involved fathers provide practical support in raising children and serve as models for their development.  Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.  Committed and responsible fathering during infancy and early childhood contributes emotional security, curiosity, and math and verbal skills.

Economic Stability

Resources for helping fathers improve their economic status by providing activities, such as Work First services, job search, job training, subsidized employment, job retention, and job enhancement; and encouraging education, including career-advancing education.

Access, Visitation, Paternity, & Child Support

About half of all children spend some part of their life apart from one or both of their parents, and most often the parent that does not live with the child is the father.  The laws that cover these relationships are the responsibility of the state (Family Law), but the Federal Government does provide states with funding to assist in the development of programs that help establish paternity, collect child support, and provide non-residential parents with access to their children.


The Department of Justice has estimated that over 7.3 million children under age 18 have a parent who is in prison, jail, on probation, or on parole. Given these numbers, it is important to understand how children and their caregivers are affected by the criminal activity of a parent and their subsequent arrest, incarceration, and release.  Additionally, it is important to know which services and assistance might be available to those under criminal justice supervision to help them be better parents and to return successfully to the community.

Research, Evaluation, & Data

Good research and program evaluations assess program performance, measure outcomes for families and communities, and document successes.  Information on previous and current research and evaluation efforts can help programs and researchers to direct limited resources to where they are most needed, and most effective, in assessing results.

Program Development

The principal implication for fathering programs is that these programs should involve a wide range of interventions, reflecting the multiple domains of responsible fathering, the varied residential and marital circumstances of fathers, and the array of personal, relational, and environmental factors that influence men as fathers.

Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation

ASPE is the principal advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policy development, and is responsible for major activities in policy coordination, legislation development, strategic planning, policy research, evaluation, and economic analysis.  Pertinent Fatherhood topics found there include:  Child Welfare, Employment, Family and Marriage Issues, and Violence.

Other Research Resources

Federal information relating to fatherhood research is spread throughout multiple departments and agencies.  This area includes other websites that have federal sponsored research related to responsible fatherhood.


This website contains links to fatherhood and related websites created and maintained by other public and private entities.  This information is provided for the reader's convenience.  The Department of Health and Human Services does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information.  Further, these links do not intend or imply endorsement of any views expressed or products or services offered.

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Last Revised:  July 21, 2011

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