Fatherhood Initiative

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Promoting Responsible Fatherhood

Welcome to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Fatherhood Initiative website. This site focuses on the work of OCFS to engage fathers in the child welfare and juvenile justice communities and to provide programs that will encourage responsible fatherhood.

Research shows that children whose fathers take a more active role in their lives have better outcomes related to academics, behavior and social skills.

Since 2007, OCFS has been working with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to bring the agencies together to better serve non-custodial parents, mostly fathers, who want to become more involved in their children’s lives, pay child support, and gain the skills that will strengthen their ability to be effective fathers.

Father involvement is supported through a number of state and federally funded programs across New York State that provide parenting programs, help couples maintain strong relationships, enhance fathers’ economic stability and provide support during incarceration and re-entry.


OCFS is committed to preparing fathers in the child welfare system and juvenile justice programs to become responsible parents.

For youth in our residential centers, OCFS identifies, monitors, and prepares young fathers to be better parents when they are released.


OCFS works with fathers in our residential facilities through the Division of Juvenile Justice Opportunities for Youth (DJJOY) Fatherhood Initiative and in communities through Healthy Families New York Home Visiting Programs. In child welfare, OCFS has developed a Locating and Engaging Fathers Toolkit to assist local districts in involving fathers in case planning.

Fathers, who too frequently have been “invisible” to the child welfare planning process, are an essential resource to their child not only psychologically but also as a potential permanency resource. Engaging fathers may begin with locating an absent father. Bringing the father into the case planning process requires sensitivity to complex family dynamics. Once engaged, the father may be able to develop a meaningful relationship with his child(ren), provide a home for them, and can model effective parenting to his children. Consideration of not only the father, but his entire extended family, broadens the opportunity for the child to experience meaningful connections and potential permanency resources.

The Locating and Engaging Fathers Toolkit is designed for local districts to develop and utilize effective strategies for locating absent fathers. Based on the belief that children need fathers in their lives, this toolkit provides tools for agencies and workers to implement strategies for engaging fathers in the lives of their children and for helping families promote child safety, permanency and well-being.