Many responsible fatherhood program participants have incarceration histories (Dion et al., 2018). Evidence is growing that many men with incarceration histories have experienced trauma early in life, and that experiencing trauma may complicate their efforts to reconnect with and support their families after incarceration. This report explores trauma in the reentry population and how responsible fatherhood programs, including those funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children and Families, can take a trauma-informed approach to the services they offer.
OFA provided support for fathers in 2015 through two funding streams that are part of the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) discretionary grant program. OFA awarded grants to community-based organizations for services specifically tailored to the needs of fathers in the process of transitioning from incarceration to their families and communities, known as the Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Re-entry and Mobility (ReFORM) programs. OFA also awarded grants for programs that serve fathers without regard to incarceration status or history, known as the New Pathways for Fathers and Families (NPFF) programs, or more generally responsible fatherhood programs.
Programs in both funding streams tend to focus on low-income fathers, and are required to offer services to promote responsible parenting, economic stability, and healthy marriage and relationship skills. Legislative authorization for HMRF programs was provided by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. (Author introduction)