Parenting Skills Programs


Findings from the B3 Study

December, 2019

This brief presents an early analysis of a program incorporating interactive cognitive-behavioral techniques with job-readiness services for fathers recently involved in the justice system. Implementation succeeded, but about 30 percent of fathers did not engage in the program or in existing fatherhood services, suggesting similar participation challenges in both.

Since 2006, Responsible Fatherhood programs across the country have received federal funding administered by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These programs aim to promote positive father-child interactions, improve parents’ relationship with each other and their capacity...


Findings from the B3 Study

December, 2019
Michelle S. Manno, Patrizia Mancini, Charlotte O'Herron

This brief describes an early analysis of Just Beginning (JB), a five-session, one-on-one program that uses videos and father-child play activities to build parenting skills. While JB was implemented successfully, only 55 percent of fathers completed at least one JB session, though those fathers typically completed most of the curriculum.

September, 2019

Data from management information systems, direct observations, and the reactions of staff members can help programs understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. This infographic presents examples of how programs in the Building Bridges and Bonds study used data from different sources to gain insights.


Developing a Smartphone Application with Fathers, for Fathers

July, 2018
Rekha Balu, Shawna Lee, Samantha Steimle

Fathers in Responsible Fatherhood programs can face numerous barriers to remaining involved with their children. This brief describes how MDRC collaborated with fathers to develop DadTime, one of the first smartphone applications designed specifically to help fathers improve their engagement with and attendance at parenting programs.


The Building Bridges and Bonds (B3) Study

April, 2017

This practitioner brief describes three new approaches in the B3 evaluation of enhancements to Responsible Fatherhood programs: a cognitive behavioral workshop that builds skills for employment stability; Just Beginning, an interactive approach to high-quality parenting; and DadTime, a mobile app to encourage active participation by fathers with their children.

Fathers play a unique role in their children’s lives and development, but some fathers face personal or societal barriers to positive involvement with their children — such as low levels of education, stigma from criminal records, declining wages for low-skilled men, or family instability. Responsible Fatherhood programs aim to improve the well-being of low-income...

Working Paper
March, 2014
Chrishana M. Lloyd, Ashley Weech, Jennifer Miller Gaubert

This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.


Exploratory Subgroup Analysis in the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation

March, 2014
Daniel Gubits, Amy Lowenstein, Jorgen Harris, JoAnn Hsueh

This paper explores effects of the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program for six subgroups of couples in the study. SHM’s impacts were generally consistent across these subgroups, though some evidence suggests that couples whose marriages were more distressed at study entry may have benefited more from SHM.