Offers recommendations about how to build knowledge on effective programs and policies to improve the economic condition of disadvantaged fathers. 
“Over the past three decades, broad economic shifts in the United States have led to stagnant or declining earnings and employment rates for workers without postsecondary education or training. These trends… have been particularly severe for men” (p.1).  This brief summarized what the authors have learned from “key past evaluations of employment-oriented programs for fathers or, in some cases, [ distinct] groups of disadvantaged men” (p.1).  It also “[identified] research gaps and [highlighted] some key challenges that will need to be addressed in future studies on this topic” (p.1).  Finally, the authors identified key conclusions. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Previous evaluations of employment programs for disadvantaged fathers and other low-income men have found some models that improved participants’ employment outcomes, at least modestly. However, the knowledge base is too thin to draw firm conclusions or to suggest what works best for whom” (p.10). Gaps in the research include: • “Delivering employment services. In order to improve participants’ employment outcomes, an employment program usually must do one or more of the following: increase participants’ skills or motivation, connect participants with jobs they might not otherwise have been able to access, or change employers’ hiring decisions in a way that favors program participants over other candidates.” (p.7). • “Combining employment services with other components. As discussed earlier, most fatherhood programs include several components. For example, programs may provide employment services, parenting classes, relationship skills classes, mediation services, access and visitation services, child support advocacy, financial literacy instruction, and other supports” (p.7). • “Subgroups. Little is known about special considerations in serving particular subsets of fathers, such as those who have children in multiple families, and those who have criminal records. Multiple partner fertility is very common, which means that many fatherhood program participants will be balancing more than one “ (p.8). • “Engagement and retention. A cross-¬‐cutting issue that runs through all of these topics is engagement. Many of the programs for disadvantaged fathers discussed above –even those that received referrals from courts –struggled to recruit and retain participants” (p.8). • “Fortunately, a number of rigorous studies of fatherhood programs are ongoing, and should greatly expand the evidence base in the next few years. In the meantime, narrower studies could address important questions about program design and program implementation, with a special focus on participant engagement, which has challenged most past programs” (p.10). (Abstractor: Author) Key research challenges include: • “First, the focus on specific program components, features, or practices makes sense, particularly given the scarcity of resources for programming for fathers and the need to make hard choices on how to allocate program funding” (p.10). (Abstractor: Author) • “Second, the most rigorous way to study the impact of particular components or practices is to randomly assign program participants to different treatment” (p.10). • Third, many evaluations of employment programs rely on unemployment insurance (UI) quarterly earnings records to measure work outcomes. UI earnings data are relatively inexpensive to collect and analyze, and they cover the vast majority of formal employment” (p.10). (Abstractor: Author)