Supporting Father Involvement:
An Evidence Based Program

When fathers become more involved in parenting and coparenting, the outcome is healthier parents, children, and families.

The Supporting Father
Involvement (SFI) Program

The Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) Program, also known internationally as Parents as Partners (PasP), is an evidenced based approach to increasing positive father involvement and engagement in co-parenting.

The Supporting Father Involvement Program represents the first randomized, controlled clinical trial focused on father involvement in low-and middle-income families, and in community agencies serving families.

In seven studies so far, the program has produced significant reductions in fathers’ and mothers’ symptoms of depression, couple conflict and violence, harsh parenting, and children’s behavior problems.

The program was designed by the team of Dr. Philip A. Cowan, Dr. Carolyn Pape Cowan, Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, and Kyle D. Pruett, MD.

The Program

The Supporting Father Involvement/Parents as Partners program is the first evidence-based program designed for families from various cultural backgrounds that reaches fathers while also including mothers or other co-parents. When either parent cannot attend, the other parent is encouraged to bring a co-parent (relative, friend, etc.) with whom they share parenting responsibilities.

How It Works

Over the course of 16 weeks the parents share their experiences as parents and partners in small groups with trained leaders – through activities, discussions, short presentations, and open-ended time for participants to raise concerns from their own lives for group conversations and problem solving. Although topics are offered by the group leaders, much of the content comes from the parents themselves. Parents are viewed as the experts on their own family. We believe that this is why the program has been helpful to couples from varied economic and ethnic backgrounds.

What Our Clients Say

Other groups have a primary focus on “how to be a parent.” This group helps us with how to understand your feelings, how to understand your child’s feelings, how to interact with each other (pointing to Dad). It keeps your interest by how you guys get us interacting, hands on activities.
-Mom
I thought it was going to be a hassle to come every week, but I enjoyed it. I saw that we were not the only ones to have problems. And then I’d go home from the group and just hang out with the family.
-Dad
We weren’t expecting to be so comfortable talking with strangers about our personal lives, but it (the group) was like a family. We’re valuing each other more as a couple. The way we speak to each other, especially when he comes home after work. He goes right to the girls and hugs them and then comes to talk to me.
-Mom

A Unique Parenting Program

Supporting Father Involvement/Parents as Partners is an evidence-based program. This group program is designed to focus on co-parenting partners (parents, grandparents, same sex couples, etc.) but it can be adapted to a fathers-only format. It has been proven effective in seven systematic trials, four with comparisons between intervention and control groups, for families with a range of incomes, families in the child welfare system, and across racial and ethnic groups.