Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED): Results from a Qualitative Study of Staff and Participant Experiences in Nine Fatherhood Programs

ReportFamiliesDec 17 2021

Fathers, children, and their families benefit from healthy coparenting and romantic relationships. Healthy relationships can improve fathers’ mental health and the quality of their involvement with their children, and can support positive health and developmental outcomes for children. In accordance with legislation authorizing Responsible Fatherhood (RF) programming, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) requires relationship education and activities to promote or sustain marriage as part of their Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grant programs. RF programs aim to improve relationship skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving to support fathers’ coparenting and romantic relationships.

Research that explores the design of select federally funded fatherhood programs suggests variation in the design and delivery of healthy relationship content. Further, it is not clear whether or how this content is responsive to fathers’ diverse relationship contexts or the needs of fathers and their families. Gaining a better understanding of how fatherhood programs design and deliver coparenting and romantic relationship services, as well as how fathers perceive and engage in those services, can help ensure that these programs are better equipped to support fathers’ healthy relationships.