“Virtually every legal and institutional arrangement governing these fathers’ lives tells them that they are a paycheck and nothing more. Unless he has a visitation order, no institution will help to ensure that a father will even be able to see his child. . . . At every turn an unmarried man who seeks to be a father, not just a daddy, is rebuffed by a system that pushes him aside with one hand while reaching into his pocket with the other. . . . If we truly believe in gender equity, then we must find a way to honor fathers’ attempts to build relationships with their children just as we do mothers’—to assign fathers rights along with their responsibilities.”

Doing the Best I Can


Responsible Fatherhood
Delvyn Crawford

Delvyn Crawford facilitates a “Responsible Fatherhood” program for a non-profit program. Devlyn was inspired to create this based video based on his own experiences, but wanted to include his two sons as well as other fathers in the program. Devlyn states, “I was one of those fathers that had a child out of wedlock at age 21. Although I’ve been married now for 11 years and my wife has borne me two handsome sons, I still feel an emptiness regarding the broken relationship with my daughter.”

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National Fatherhood Leadership Group

The National Fatherhood Leaders Group (NFLG) is a coalition of national and community-based fatherhood organizations, individual fatherhood practitioners and others interested in fatherhood and family strengthening. Our mission is to raise awareness of the importance of two involved parents in the lives of children and to strengthen the capacity of the responsible fatherhood field. NFLG is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit membership-based organization.


Almost 40 percent of children in the United States are born to unmarried parents, and often both parents have low incomes. Many children who grow up without their fathers struggle and are vulnerable to a number of negative risk factors. The public costs of father absence on children are substantial, including poverty, low academic achievement, juvenile delinquency and early pregnancy.


NFLG offers the collective voice of the responsible fatherhood field to help policymakers, practitioners, community and faith-based organizations, child advocates and other groups, understand the importance of providing fathers with the services and supports they need to act responsibly.


We support a range of initiatives that support our policy agenda:

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  1. Sufficient funding for community-based responsible fatherhood programs.
  2. Funding for transitional jobs and other effective workforce and education strategies that support career advancement.
  3. Funding for prisoner re-entry programs and criminal justice reform.
  4. Realistic child support policies.
  5. Expanded earned income tax benefits.
  6. Improved access to health care to improve physical and mental well-being.
  7. Assistance to military and veteran parents and their families.
  8. Father involvement in schools, Head Start and child welfare programs.
  9. Parent-friendly practices in the workplace and in government agencies.
  10. Youth development programs and strategies to prevent too-soon parenting.
  11. Co-parenting plans and parental dispute resolution strategies.
  12. Healthy marriage and couple relationship-skill building programs and services.
  13. Collaboration with domestic violence prevention programs and services.
  14. Collaboration with other family-serving and family planning programs.
  15. A robust research agenda and implementation of evidence-based practice in the field.

Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is following a cohort of nearly 5,000 children born in large U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000 (roughly three-quarters of whom were born to unmarried parents). We refer to unmarried parents and their children as “fragile families” to underscore that they are families and that they are at greater risk of breaking up and living in poverty than more traditional families.


The core FF Study was designed to primarily address four questions of great interest to researchers and policy makers:

  1. What are the conditions and capabilities of unmarried parents, especially fathers?
  2. What is the nature of the relationships between unmarried parents?
  3. How do children born into these families fare?
  4. How do policies and environmental conditions affect families and children?

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Center for Urban Families: Helping Fathers and Families Work

A leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood. A successful advocate for child support reform in Maryland. A trainer that helps nonprofits across the country strengthen low-income families. A support network for Baltimore’s most vulnerable citizens. We’re the Center for Urban Families.


Since our founding in 1999, CFUF has remained at the front-line of addressing some of our city’s most pressing issues, including poverty, unemployment, father-absence and family disintegration. We maintain an unwavering focus on addressing the key challenges of Baltimore’s urban families by working to connect fathers to their children, creating opportunities for economic and financial security through work, and providing access to other key interventions and supportive services.


Our core mission is to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success.


Central to CFUF’s mission is the belief that men—the most disconnected and underserved citizens in urban communities—who connect with women, their children, and the workplace are key to the restoration of stability and optimism.  Consistent with this mission, our organizational goal is to assist individuals in regaining the personal power needed to benefit their families and communities.


Since 1999, CFUF has helped 20,000 vulnerable Baltimoreans achieve the goal of achieving stable employment, housing and family structures. CFUF has provided the bridge that many have needed to attain stability, while emerging as a leader in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood and black male achievement. Today, we’ve grown to serve more than 1,500 men and women a year, placing nearly 3,000 into permanent, stable employment, training many in our specialized training space.


Our unique service model, Family Stability and Economic Success (FSES)™, is an integrated and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of our target population.  Services offered through the FSES Model target two critical areas: chronic unemployment and family instability.  FSES brings together use of streamlined accountability systems, co-located and bundled resources and partnerships, and an intensive system of family strengthening and economic stability-focused wrap-around services and interventions, to address the needs of low-income families and workers in a holistic and effective manner test.

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Fathers, Families, & Healthy Communities

Convened in 2002 the Fathers, Families, and Healthy Communities (FFHC)  is a working group of: social service and community development practitioners; applied researchers and academics; and public policy experts including but not limited to, DePaul University Egan Urban Center (policy, research and community development), Centers for New Horizons (comprehensive community development), Safer Foundation (reentry services for the formerly incarcerated), the Chicago Jobs Council (workforce development policy and advocacy), Illinois Division of Child Support Services, social service and  workforce development agencies, practitioners, and independent researchers.


These collaborating partners have conceived of the FFHC Demonstration Project to advance social and programmatic connectivity to form the foundation for high impact community-based services for African American non-custodial fathers and their families.  FFHC has worked together for over two decades; some FFHC founders and leaders worked on the Paternal Involvement Demonstration Project (PIP)—an innovative father involvement and family support initiative that took place in Illinois in the mid-90s. In addition to their program experience, policy and advocacy expertise, and research acumen, FFHC leaders share their unique insights and knowledge of promising practices and leverage their national and local leadership to support the FFHC Demonstration Project. The Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) serves as the fiscal agent for the FFHC Demonstration Project and is also a project partner. The Chicago Community Trust and Open Society Foundations are our primary funders.

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