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2009 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 14, No. 1
April 2009

Assessing Father Involvement In Your County

After reading about engaging fathers, a child welfare program manager in a smaller (Level I) agency in Eastern North Carolina was moved to take a closer look at her county’s performance with fathers. She consulted her agency’s information and found that there were 53 children in her agency’s custody at that time. Of these children:

  • 11 had fathers involved (to some extent) with the child and the agency
  • 24 had fathers the agency classified as “father unknown,” “unable to locate,” or “never involved”
  • 7 had fathers who were offered services and had been involved with the agency to some extent but now were no longer involved
  • 4 had fathers who had relinquished custody of the child or whose parental rights had been terminated
  • 5 had incarcerated fathers
  • 1 child’s father was deceased (paternal relatives not involved)
  • 1 was placed with paternal relatives
  • None of the children were placed with their fathers

Seeing these numbers encouraged this program manager to talk with her supervisors and case managers to see what the agency had done to engage the 24 fathers who were unknown/uninvolved.

Using data and asking questions in this way can lead to insights and positive practice changes, not to mention improved outcomes for fathers and their children. We hope you will consult your agency’s data to get a clear picture of how your agency is performing now and how it might improve its ability to involve fathers and paternal relatives in child welfare.