Responding to the increasing need for rigorous program evaluations in the responsible fatherhood field, the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) commissioned CRFCFW to evaluate their Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Program (BRFP). Before program impacts can be evaluated it is first necessary to understand the mechanisms through which programs work.  Thus CRFCFW undertook a process analysis to assess program objectives, theories of change, and curriculum implementation. In consultation with CFUF, CRFCFW identified child support intermediation services as the main target area for analysis. A variety of methods were used to conduct the analysis, including document reviews, interviews with staff and participants, observation of program sessions, and a review of CFUF’s data management system. The analysis found that BRFP possesses a clearly articulated and implemented program objective of assisting fathers with their parenting skills by focusing on the importance of employment for being a responsible father. In addition, BRFP contains a well-developed model of child support services, consisting of curriculum sessions, a skills-based workshop, a peer support group, individual case management, and close collaboration with local child support enforcement. Although the BRFP curriculum does not identify a theoretical basis, the analysis revealed a strong relationship with social cognitive theory and the concept of self-efficacy. Final recommendations included creating a new curriculum based on the dynamic material presented by case managers, creating a child support tracking form to integrate multiple sources of child support information, and enhancing referral systems for Maryland’s arrears forgiveness program and for legal assistance.

The final report can be found here.