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Responsible Fatherhood

A father’s role is a vital element in the well-being of his children. Research demonstrates that children who have the support of a father figure show better school performance, increased self-esteem, fewer emotional and behavioral problems, lower likelihood of drug use, and reduced involvement in criminal activity. While most of the current research has been focused on the effect of absenteeism among fathers on their children, recent studies indicate that fathers want to be involved and develop significant relationships with their children. As such, it is important that they receive support and education to address common risk factors that contribute to family dysfunction, including domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, parental unemployment, low levels of parental education, and high rates of school dropout.

In an effort to involve fathers and other paternal caregivers in family events and positive parenting education activities and to increase their attention and commitment to their child’s development and the family relationship needs of their children, Vista Community Clinic (VCC) applied for a competitive grant and was awarded funding to provide educational and support interventions for fathers in the San Diego North County community.

The Criminal Justice Research Division of SANDAG was contracted by VCC to conduct a five-year process and impact evaluation of the project. SANDAG documented program activities, including the number and types of interventions, the number of clients served, and their socio-demographic characteristics. Pre- and post-surveys that measure client knowledge and attitude about parenting also were used to determine if the program reached its target population and met its intended outcomes. A final report was completed in October 2011.

Project Manager

Lisbeth Howard, Associate Criminal Justice Research Analyst
Phone: (619) 699-6910, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or