2021 Strong Fathers Strong Families Evaluation Report

The 2021 Strong Fathers Strong Families Evaluation Report provides an overview of the program, summarizes the literature on fatherhood involvement, and describes the research activities, key findings, and a proposed plan for future program evaluation.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation contracted with Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing (TXICFW) at The University of Texas at Austin to conduct a process evaluation of the Strong Fathers Strong Families Campus Program (Strong Fathers) to understand the program experiences of participants and create a report of findings with a proposed evaluation plan for a future program evaluation.

For this project, TXICFW conducted a literature review on fatherhood involvement; developed a logic model based on the literature review, Strong Fathers program activities, and intended goals; and collected qualitative data through interviews of fathers and school staff at three Independent School Districts that participate in the Strong Fathers in Texas. Findings from the process evaluation were used to refine the logic model and develop an evaluation plan.

Key findings from the report include:

1. Dads often enacted the role of provider and disciplinarian, and moms often enacted the role of caretaker, typically more engaged in children’s education and learning.

2. Dads’ time with children was largely dependent on work schedules. Work and busy family schedules were the most common barriers for dads participating in school activities, including Strong Fathers.

3. Dads felt most connected with children either during special activities or when the opportunity arose to work through stressful or emotional moments together.

4. Schools typically communicated with moms, engaging dads only under special circumstances such as when discipline was needed and/or for dad-specific events.

5. Schools struggled to engage families from various cultures and backgrounds. School staff’s assumptions and biases about families may hinder this engagement.

6. Motivation to participate in school activities, including Strong Fathers, was typically dad-led or child-led, ultimately driven by the father-child relationship.

7. Most dads and school staff reflected positively about Strong Fathers, though dads who participated were typically already engaged in their children’s education and learning prior to participating in Strong Fathers.

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Read the report here