Father involvement makes a real difference. Whether the outcome is intellectual
development, role development or psychological development, most children do better
when their relationship with Dad is close and warm, whether Dad lives with them
or not. Research shows:
- School-aged children of involved fathers are better academic achievers. They are
more likely to get A’s, have better quantitative and verbal skill. (Bing, 1963;
Goldstein, 1982; Radin 1982)
- Children of involved fathers are more likely to become educationally mobile young
adults with higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success
and psychological well being. (Amato, 1994; Barber& Thomas, 1986; Barnett, Marshall
& Pleck 1992)
- Young adults, who had nurturing and available fathers while growing up, are more
likely to score high on measures of self acceptance and personal and social adjustment.
(Fish & Biller, 1973)
- Children of involved fathers are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance
for stress and frustration. (Mischel, Shoda, & Peake, 1988)
- Father warmth and nurturance significantly predicts children’s moral maturity, is
associated with more pro-social and positive moral behavior in boys and girls. (Mosley
& Thompson, 1995)
Key leadership roles KCSL has taken include:
- Kansas Parent Leadership Conference (PLC) – KCSL holds a “key” role in the development
and implementation of the annual Kansas Parent Leadership Conference which is attended
by over 250 parents and practitioners. In 2010, KCSL advocated to offer a “fatherhood
track” at the PLC which proved to be highly successful with the “fatherhood track”
being the highest attended workshops of the conference.
- Kansas Fatherhood Coalition (KFC) – KCSL is an active member of the KFC, holding
positions as committee chairs and members, providing information on fatherhood programs
and services available and offering information on innovative opportunities in the
field of fatherhood to other agency members.
- Legislative Hearings – KCSL has sponsored fathers to speak at legislative hearings
in the support of the enactment of future “fatherhood programs” by the state.
- The Kansas Statewide Parent Leadership Advisory Council – In collaboration with
Kansas University, KCSL is developing the Statewide Parent Leadership Advisory Council
whose role will be to provide guidance and direction to the Strengthening Families
Initiative Leadership Team, the Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Kansas
Parent Leadership Conference. Several fathers have been selected to be members of
the Council to ensure the fatherhood perspective will be reflected.
- The National Family Preservation Network and the national Circle of Parents® organization
have recognized Kansas as the lead state nationally in “Best Practices” in their
work in Fatherhood, largely due to the Fatherhood model developed by the Kansas
Children’s Service League.
KCSL has set an agency priority in their strategic plan to create a “father
friendly environment,” which encourages and includes fathers’ participation in program
services and support by:
- Encouraging the healthy development of the father-child relationship in all programs
- Encouraging other agencies and organizations to work effectively with fathers such
as healthcare, hospitals, businesses and law enforcement.
- Participating in a coalition of organizations and leaders that promotes responsible
- Taking leadership steps to share best practices in working with fathers with other
- Surveying fathers on a regular basis to determine their needs, concerns and interests
and help shape current and future programs and services.
- Utilizing father-specific curriculum and strategies designed to encourage father
involvement in KCSL’s Head Start, Early Head Start and Healthy Families America
- Working with the KCSL Staff Council to implement “father-friendly” environments
which help to make fathers feel welcomed and encouraged to participate in agency
programs and services.
- Committing to fathers’ leadership roles in the agency’s programs and services as
coordinators, support group facilitators, fatherhood advisory councils and in local
and state task coalitions and task forces.
The National Circle of Parents “Partners for Kids: United Hands Make the Best
Families” model targets home-visitation programs. The fatherhood initiative model
used by KCSL in their role with the fatherhood initiative includes:
- Fatherhood Advisory Councils: a community model designed to create the substantiality
of the promotion and embracement of fatherhood within the community. Comprised of
both practitioners and parents, the council becomes the enduring promoter, supporter
and community entity which guides efforts for fatherhood within the programs and
services offered in the community.
- “Conscious Fathering” Classes: an evidence-based training program, which provides
fathers the opportunity to learn their newborn baby’s five basic needs, keys to
how babies communicate, how to not only meet their baby’s needs but anticipate them
and the importance of developing a healthy, positive relationship with the baby’s
- Kansas Circle of Parents® “Adventures in Fathering: a national evidence based mutual
self-help model which provides fathers the opportunity to network and is based on
the “five protective factors” essential to strengthening families and preventing
child abuse and neglect - nurturing, parental resilience, child and youth development,
solid social connections and concrete supports.
- Fatherhood Summit Meetings: a community awareness model which brings together fathers
and community partners to network, learn about the importance of fatherhood and
lay the “stepping stones” to promote and embrace fatherhood in the community.