Recruiting fathers to parenting programs: Advice from dads and fatherhood program providersedit
The benefits of high-quality father–child relationships for fathers and children alike are well documented. While evidence suggests parenting programs can improve the quality of father–child relationships, few fathers participate in such programs. This qualitative study aims to fill the gap in knowledge on best practices for recruiting urban African American fathers, a group of fathers with unique parenting challenges, to parenting programs. Focus groups were conducted with 29 fathers to gain their perspectives on recruitment strategies. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with a nationwide sample of 19 fatherhood program providers to learn about their most successful recruitment strategies. Recruitment strategies based on emergent themes from the focus groups and interviews are presented here. Themes included using word-of-mouth recruitment, increasing advertising, targeting advertising specifically to urban African American fathers, providing transportation and incentives, recruiting through the courts, collaborating with other community agencies, and offering parenting programming along with other programming valued by fathers such as employment assistance. Implications for developing strategies for recruiting urban African American fathers to parenting programs are discussed.