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. Whom Did MFS-IP Programs Target?


The MFS-IP grants targeted unmarried and married couples with children where the father was incarcerated or recently released. All responsible fatherhood grants funded by OFA under the authority of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 were aimed at fathers.[1] Grantees in the MFS-IP priority area could only serve fathers who were currently or very recently under criminal justice supervision and were required to focus their services on couples. Due to the focus on couples, almost all grantees limited participation in their core services to men who self-identified as being married or in a committed relationship. Grantees added additional requirements specific to their program needs. These requirements included limiting services to fathers who would be released within a certain timeframe or to a certain geographic area.

“There’s all these basic needs programs [for reentering men], but there’s not much for fatherhood and relationship building—and if a father doesn’t have relationships, there’s little incentive for him to work or stay out of prison. If we can establish those relationships, there’s a greater incentive.”

Some grantees focused on special populations, such as men living in a specialized program-focused housing unit, or those who would be released without parole after serving their full sentences. Many grantees imposed restrictions designed to exclude men with a record of sex offenses or those at high risk for domestic violence perpetration.[2]

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