Focus on Family and Fatherhood: Lessons From Fairfax County's Responsible Fatherhood Program for Incarcerated Dads

Monica L.P. Robbers, Marymount University

Current research estimates that some 10 million children will have an incarcerated father before reaching age 18 (DOJ, 2003). Research suggests that children who grow up without a father are five to six times more likely to live below the poverty line, or at risk of substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, and are more likely to become involved in the justice system themselves (Anderson, Kohler and Leciecq, 2002).

In an effort to re-connect children with estranged or absent fathers, Responsible Fatherhood programs have been implemented in prisons and communities around the country. In March of 2002, Fairfax County implemented a Responsible Fatherhood program for incarcerated Dads. This article presents quantitative and qualitative results from an evaluation of the first six cohorts to complete the program. The program's effectiveness in building family relationships is discussed, along with other program benefits and recommendations for future programs.

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Updated 05/20/2006