This cross-sectional study explored child welfare agency workers' attitudes and practice regarding working with fathers whose children are at-risk for abuse and neglect. Agency workers completed a questionnaire about their attitudes towards working with fathers, their knowledge of barriers to fathers' engagement, and their experiences with their own fathers. They also completed open-ended items about services and supports they felt would be most helpful to fathers. A content analysis of the data revealed critical themes for four areas that workers felt could be enhanced to effectively engage fathers: (a) use diligent efforts that ensure fathers are present to contribute, (b) provide equitable services, supports, and policies for fathers, (c) address father-specific needs, and (d) promote a positive worker-father relationship. The findings provide insight into ways that social workers can maximize fathers' strengths and reduce their challenges.
Key Take Away Points
- Child welfare workers identify key barriers to father engagement
- Workers discuss diligent efforts that ensure fathers are present to contribute to their children's welfare
- Workers make recommendations for the child welfare agency to provide equitable services, supports, and policies for fathers.
- Child welfare agencies can enhance father engagement efforts by addressing father-specific needs, and promoting a positive worker-father relationship
Dr. Tanya M. Coakley is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Department of Social Work.
Allyson Kelley is a Public Health Education Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Dr. Robin Bartlett is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing.
Correspondence may be addressed to Tanya M. Coakley, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Social Work, P. O. Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study was funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Their support is greatly appreciated. The authors wish to thank the County Department of Social Services personnel for their support and assistance with the completion of this project. The authors also wish to thank Elizabeth Tornquist for her helpful suggestions during the development of this paper. This project was partially supported by Grant P20MD002289 from NIMHD/NIH. The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities or the National Institutes of Health.
Coakley, Tanya M.; Kelley, Allyson; and Bartlett, Robin
"Exploring Child Welfare Workers' Attitudes and Practice With Fathers,"
Journal of Family Strengths:
1, Article 11.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol14/iss1/11