Supporting Father Involvement


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What is Supporting Father Involvement?

The Supporting Father Involvement (SFI) Co-Parenting Program, also known internationally as Parents as Partners (PasP), is an evidence-based approach to increasing father involvement, engagement in co-parenting, and fostering children’s development.

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) offers a 24-hour training for teams interested in implementing the SFI program in their organizations. Participants learn how to implement this 8-session parenting-group program that includes co-led group facilitation, an interactive curriculum, case management, and child care during the groups while parents are meeting. The program is designed to focus on co-parenting partners (e.g., parents, grandparents, same-sex couples, etc.) but it can be implemented in a fathers group format.

The initial 24-hour team training is followed by one year of mentoring on SFI curriculum implementation in your setting.

The SFI program was designed by the team of Dr. Philip A. Cowan, Dr. Carolyn Pape Cowan, Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, and Kyle D. Pruett, MD. Learn more about SFI, its history, and evidence base at the SFI website.

Who should attend this training?

This training is for agencies or organizations that want to learn how to implement SFI with parents and families in their setting. SFI is implemented by a team who together attend this training. We will coordinate with you in selecting your SFI Team. The foundational team includes:

  • Project Director
  • Two Group Leaders
  • Case Manager

Other team members may include:

  • Additional Group Leaders
  • Additional Case Managers
  • A Data Manager
  • Child Care Director/Coordinator

What does the SFI Team learn?

The SFI Team learns how to develop, recruit, and implement the parenting groups, which include 16 hours of group time (eight 2-hour sessions). SFI is based on the following five interconnected family domains known to affect family health, mental health, and child abuse outcomes:

  • Individual parent characteristics
  • Parent-child relationship quality
  • Couple or co-parenting relationship quality
  • Intergenerational transmission of parent-child involvement and relationships
  • External influences, such as employment, environmental stressors, and social supports

Research on SFI has demonstrated that these domains are interconnected and that changes in one or more domains can cascade positively through the family system.

What are the effects on parents, children, and families of participating in SFI parenting groups?

Research has shown that programs can anticipate the following durable impacts on children, parents, and families that participate in SFI parenting groups:

  • Reduction in both parents’ personal distress, including depression, anxiety, embarrassment, and anger
  • Increased positive communication between parents
  • Reduced destructive communication and violence
  • Increased parental ability to set appropriate limits for their children
  • Increased father involvement and co-parenting
  • Improved parent-child relationship quality
  • Increased positive child behavioral and emotional outcomes for children
  • Reduction in harsh parenting
  • Reductions in the aggressive, withdrawn, and depressive child behaviors

Where can I learn more about SFI?

For more information about the SFI program, history, and evidence base, please visit the Supporting Father Involvement website.

How do I get my team trained to implement SFI in my program?

BTC faculty and staff are available to help you consider bringing SFI to your community. Please contact us to schedule a time to discuss your interest in using the SFI Program to help you reach your goals for father involvement, engagement in co-parenting, and fostering children’s development!

Learn More About the SFI Program

Listen to podcast

Listen to Dr. Philip Cowan and Dr. Carolyn Pape Cowan discuss their decades of research on couples’ relationships after they become parents together on an episode of the Therapy on the Cutting Edge podcast. The episode is titled, “From Partners to Parents: The Research on Interventions to Support Couples’ Relationships After the Birth of the First Child and to Foster Fathers’ Positive Involvement in the Family.”

  • Listen on Spotify here
  • Listen on Apple Podcasts here

Watch video

Watch as Dr. Philip Cowan and Dr. Carolyn Pape Cowan discuss the research that informs the SFI Co-Parenting Program, and how the program works. Learn how you can be trained to bring SFI to your organization or community.

The Supporting Father Involvement Program, also known internationally as Parents as Partners, is an evidence-based approach to increasing father involvement, engagement in co-parenting, and fostering children’s development.

Get Involved

Learn With Us

Babies and children, families and communities do the research on what it takes for them to flourish. Listen with us to what they’ve been learning. Watch a webinar. Check out the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative. Join the Brazelton Touchpoints Center Learning Network. Join the conversation.

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