By Lisa Kim and Elizabeth Karberg, Child Trends, June 16, 2022
Fathers’ role within families has gradually evolved from traditional family breadwinner to that of more full and equal coparent involved in all aspects of caregiving. Research has shown that positive father-child involvement leads to better outcomes for children and families, and a critical component of improving fathers’ involvement with their children is supporting their coparenting and romantic or intimate relationships. In addition to providing parenting and economic stability services, fatherhood programs that receive federal funding are required by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) to provide relationship education, which positions them ideally to help fathers establish and maintain healthy relationships.
In the past three years, Child Trends’ Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED) project has aimed to better understand how fatherhood programs support fathers’ coparenting and intimate relationships. Here, we’d like to highlight some important lessons learned from CHaRMED that can inform how fatherhood program practitioners support fathers’ relationships and improve their—and their families’—well-being.