"Dads Matter" for Home Visiting

Reducing the Risk of Child Maltreatment and Improving Co-Parenting

Our Partnership

"Dads Matter" is a manualized intervention designed to assess the father's role in the family to determine how he may best be engaged to build an effective, supportive and productive co-parenting team with the child's mother. Researchers from the University of Denver, University of Nebraska at Omaha came together for this collaborative study which tests the effectiveness of the Dads Matter intervention against standard home-visiting practices. We believe the research and ingenuity achieved through collaborations like this one are essential as we work to improve childrens' lives.

About Our Research

We leverage cross-institutional collaboration to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, producing interdisciplinary solutions that influence policymakers to effectively serve the public good. From Stanford to UChicago to NYU, we’ve refined our collaborative process through years of mutually beneficial relationships with institutions nationwide to understand and address challenges like climate change, HIV and youth homelessness.

DU’s current research efforts have been featured in news outlets like The New York Times. They include…

  • exploring the effects of felony disenfranchisement.
  • employing lasers as the medium for quantum science.
  • using theatre to heal and rehabilitate inmates.

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About the Project

Currently, a multisite-clustered randomized controlled trial is being conducted to test the intervention. Supervisors were randomized to deliver "Dads Matter" enhanced services or home-visiting services as usual, and those within the intervention condition implemented the enhancement through a train-the-trainer model.

Preliminary findings indicate that the intervention improves fathers' engagements in home-visiting services and reduces risk of child maltreatment. In the future, further analyses will study the assessment of other outcomes, including child maltreatment risk and co-parenting.

DU and the University of Nebraska are joined by a variety of academic and community partners, including New York University, Metropolitan Family Services, SGA Youth and Family Services, The Catholic Charities, ChildServ and Family Focus. The Dads Matter intervention is funded by the Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation, the McCormick Foundation and the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network. This study underlines the outstanding possibilities for improvement in clinical social work and home-visiting practices made achievable through collaboration.

Discover Research at DU

Jennifer Bellamy

Jennifer Bellamy is an associate professor with the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work. Her work focuses on the engagement of fathers in child and family services, with the goal supporting positive fathering, reducing the risk of child maltreatment and improving child wellbeing among young, low-income diverse families with young children. She's committed to practicing her research in "real-world" settings, and has worked in the field of fathering since 2000.