Five Years Later: Final Implementation Lessons from the Evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners. How Critical Is Clear Guidance for Program Implementation?


To support the success of future programs serving correctional populations, grantees suggested that clear, consistent communication about eligibility requirements and allowable activities was crucial. Every detail of MFS-IP service delivery had to be painstakingly negotiated within correctional system bureaucracy, so even minor changes in plan caused enormous delays. Grantees whose original program plans were consistent with OFA objectives and requirements fared much better during program start-up than those who had to modify their plans (and partnership agreements) to comply. Those who had a clear understanding of OFA’s eligibility requirements, particularly with regard to relationship and parenting status and whether both members of the couple were willing to participate, experienced greater program stability through the grant period.

Grantees noted that communication among program directors of similar MFS-IP programs proved invaluable to implementation success. In many cases, grantees’ efforts were pioneering and they had few models or peers to draw on besides one another. OFA’s efforts to facilitate peer-to-peer contact helped to encourage innovative solutions to common obstacles and challenges.

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