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Engaging Fathers and Paternal Relatives: A Continuous Quality Improvement Approach in the Child Welfare System

The primary aim of this study is to identify, and pilot test, evidence-informed strategies to better engage fathers and paternal relatives in the child welfare system.

Child welfare is highly influenced by organizational factors and much of child welfare work is driven by policy. Unfortunately, child welfare organizational policies and practices not to treat fathers as "core business‚" and tend to reflect and perpetuate, implicitly or explicitly, gender biases that over-burden mothers and generally approach men as either risks or financial resources only.

In this multi-year project, possible "touchpoints" or opportunities for engaging fathers and paternal relatives will be identified using existing research literature and engagement with leading stakeholders across policy, practice and research. Once identified, strategies aligned with each touchpoint will be pilot tested with a small number of child welfare authorities. These pilot studies will inform future evaluation of father and paternal relative engagement strategies and inform child welfare system's efforts to increase the participation and engagement of this often-excluded population.