Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF)

Last registered on June 26, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF)
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009639
Initial registration date
June 22, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 26, 2022, 5:26 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Insight Policy Research

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2019-09-22
End date
2023-03-29
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
The Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) aims to identify and test approaches to improve recruitment, engagement, and retention of fathers in responsible fatherhood programs using rapid learning cycles. The study includes 10 programs – 9 of which have received Family-focused, Interconnected, Resilient and Essential (Fatherhood FIRE) grants from the Office of Family Assistance in the US Department of Human Services – testing interventions over a one-year period in one of three broad categories:
• Coaching. Coaching techniques are employed in case management. Staff members use open-ended questions to talk with fathers about their goals and how to achieve them. This approach is designed to increase the number of fathers who complete the program.
• Outreach. Programs use innovative ways of conducting outreach and intake to enroll more fathers into programs and encourage more fathers to show up for initial workshops.
• Peer support. Program alumni or fathers with experience with the program serve as mentors to new fathers with the aim of increasing the number of fathers who persist through the program.

Registration Citation

Citation
Cody, Scott and Charles Michalopoulos. 2022. "Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF)." AEA RCT Registry. June 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9639
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
SIRF involves a variety of methods based on the specific approaches and study designs at the various programs.
• The peer support cluster contains four responsible fatherhood programs in which fathers who enroll in the program are being randomly assigned to two groups. In one group -- the father-initiated group -- fathers had to initiate contact with their peer mentors. In the second group -- the mentor-initiated group -- either fathers or mentors can initiate contact.
• The outreach cluster contains three responsible fatherhood programs in which fathers who are recruited into the program are random assigned before enrollment into two groups. In one group -- the ease of intake group -- programs are using an approach focused on getting fathers to attend the first workshop session. In the second group -- the personalization group -- fathers are offered the opportunity for additional one-on-one services through case management before attending the first workshop.
• In the coaching cluster, three programs are incorporating a coaching stance into their existing case management practices. Case managers use open-ended questions, provide affirmation and reflection of the father’s statements, use other methods to encourage the father to talk about his needs, let the father lead the process of setting goals, and use motivational interviewing techniques. In this approach, staff members communicate with fathers using phrasing such as, “I’m here to listen to and support you,” “You’re in the lead,” and “Tell me more.”

Each intervention is being tested using rapid learning cycles in which programs might adapt their approaches based on what they observe during a cycle. Over the course of a year, each program will go through 3-4 cycles.

More details can be found in the study's interim report: https://www.mdrc.org/publication/using-learning-cycles-strengthen-fatherhood-programs
Intervention Start Date
2021-07-01
Intervention End Date
2022-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Enrolling in program services, attending at least one workshop (the primary programmatic activity), and being retained in the program (defined as attending at least half of the recommended workshops or attending at least 90 percent of the recommended workshops).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
N/A

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
No secondary outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
N/A

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
As noted above, fathers in the peer support test are being randomly assigned after they enroll in the program to a mentor-initiated group or a father-initiated group. Fathers in the outreach test are being randomly assigned before enrollment to the ease-of-intake approach or the personalization approach. Random assignment in the coaching cluster was not deemed feasible, so results of that cluster are being assessed using a matched comparison to individuals in other responsible fatherhood programs.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
In the peer support and outreach tests, randomization was done based on the father's day of birth or program identification number. Those with odd birthdays or identification numbers were assigned to one group and those with even birthdays or identification numbers were assigned to the other group. The method of randomization varied across programs included in the study.
Randomization Unit
Individual fathers were randomized in the peer support and outreach tests.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
350 fathers per program
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,500 fathers across the 10 programs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Fathers were assigned in equal numbers to the two groups. For the peer support test, the expected sample is 175 fathers in the mentor-initiated group and 175 fathers in the peer-initiated group for each of the four programs in this test, for a total sample of 700 fathers in each treatment arm. For the outreach test, the expected sample is 175 fathers in the ease-of-intake group and 175 fathers in the personalization initiated group for each of the three programs in this test, for a total sample of 525 fathers in each treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

Documents

Document Name
SIRF Interim Report
Document Type
other
Document Description
This report summarizes activities in the first two years of the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) study (2019 to 2021). SIRF aims to identify and test approaches to improving programs’ recruitment, engagement, and retention of fathers using rapid learning cycles. During the first two years, the study team identified challenges that fatherhood programs face in engaging men and promising approaches for addressing those challenges, selected programs to participate in SIRF, and began collaborating with those programs on research activities. In 2021, fatherhood programs began iteratively implementing and assessing promising approaches to addressing implementation challenges with the support of and in partnership with the SIRF team.
File
SIRF Interim Report

MD5: d7033bd8bbaf7d3be613e9c907eadb8c

SHA1: 975f5e9613499b01948ae92737bd583c7106eeaa

Uploaded At: June 22, 2022

IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
MDRC IRB
IRB Approval Date
2020-02-19
IRB Approval Number
1556714-8