Research has indicated a father's involvement in child welfare services can have a positive impact on their children's well-being. However, despite a deepening focus on parent engagement in child welfare, data from Child and Family Service Reviews reveal that fathers are not well engaged in services.
In August of 2019, the Fathers and Continuous Learning in Child Welfare (FCL) project sought to improve placement stability and permanency outcomes for children by engaging their fathers and paternal relatives. FCL implemented a methodology known as the breakthrough series collaborative (BSC). BSC is a continuous learning methodology developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that is used to test and spread promising practices to help organizations improve in a focused topic area.
Six improvement teams representing five State or county child welfare agencies participated in the BSC. Each team identified, implemented, and studied a unique group of strategies to create a culture in their child welfare system that prioritizes thinking about and engaging fathers and paternal relatives. Teams implemented "Plan-Do-Study-Act" cycles for strategies to identify beneficial practices and adapt them to real situations.
“Engaging Fathers – Putting Lessons Into Practice” is a three-part series to share strategies implemented from three of the five State or county agencies: Los Angeles county, California; Hartford, Connecticut; and Prowers county, Colorado. Part one focuses on the strategies developed within Hartford, Connecticut.
The following individuals are featured in this episode:
- Christine Lau, MSW. assistant chief of child welfare, Connecticut Department of Children and Families
- Abdul Rahmaan I. Muhammad, LMSW, executive director, My People Clinical Services
Topics discussed include the following:
- The benefits of including community partners and fatherhood advocates in Connecticut’s improvement team
- Why Connecticut chose multiple, small strategies over a single, large-scale strategy to address fatherhood engagement
- Successful strategies to impact agency-wide culture and thinking about engaging fathers in daily child welfare practice