Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their Children

Type of Approach:

  • Group

Provider Education Level:

  • Unspecified


  • Greater than 12 weeks

Trauma Type:

  • Child Abuse
  • Disrupted Attachment
  • Domestic Violence
  • Multiple
  • Neglect

Trauma Symptom:


  • Domestic Violence Shelter
  • Other
  • Other Community Settings


Type of services:

Group parenting intervention for men who have been identified as having, or being at high risk for, abuse or neglect of their children or exposing their children to domestic violence. Intervention includes contact with children’s mothers and coordinated case management to reduce risk that fathers may pose to members of their families.

Program setting:

Batterer’s intervention programs s, family service agencies, child and family mental health services, shelters and child protection service agencies

Type of provider:

Social workers, child protection workers, child and family therapists, men’s therapist, batterer intervention program staff, probation officers, etc.

Length of program/number sessions:

17 weeks

Additional information:

The overarching goal of Caring Dads is to ensure the safety and well-being of children who have been impacted by men’s abuse or neglect including exposure to domestic violence. This is achieved through a fathering group intervention with associated contact with mothers and coordinated case management. Specific goals are:

  • To develop sufficient trust and motivation to engage men in the process of examining their fathering
  • To increase men’s awareness and application of child-centered fathering
  • To eliminate men’s use of abuse and neglect towards their children and to promote respectful and non-abusive co-parenting with children’s mothers
  • To promote men’s appreciation of the impact of their past abuse on their children and family and help men take responsibility for these behaviors
  • To work with other professionals to plan for the future safety and well-being of children who have been impacted by abuse, neglect and/or domestic violence

Referrals are typically made by the legal system, child protection, child and family mental health services, batterer intervention programs and other referral agencies.

Unique/Innovative Characteristics

The dropout rate was 19% which is low for programs working with perpetrators of violence.

Feedback from participants emphasizes the value they placed on having a chance to talk about parenting issues with other men and feelings of satisfaction with having changed their attitudes over the course of treatment.

This intervention, which includes systematic outreach to mothers to ensure safety and freedom from coercion, is an innovative combination of parenting skills with motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Community-based model for accountability to ensure that child safety and well-being is enhanced as a result of fathers’ involvement in intervention.

Date Added/Updated:



  • 18-25 (Young Adult)
  • 25 and up (Adult)


  • English
  • Other

Ethnic Racial Group:

  • American Indian, Alaska Native, Other Indigenous
  • White

Caregivers Included:

  • Father

Population Adaptations:

Parent/adult caregiver included in intervention:

Yes, designed for
men who have maltreated their children and/or exposed
their children to domestic violence. Children’s mothers are also
contacted to provide them with information, support referral, and
safety planning as needed.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

Modifications for Aboriginal clients and for use in different countries are in progress.

Languages available:

English, Swedish, German


Theoretical basis:

Integration of the literature on parenting, child maltreatment, change promotion, and batterer intervention. Caring Dads has motivational elements of a readiness program, educational elements of a traditional parenting program, and accountability aspects of a batterer’s intervention program. The program prioritizes the safety and well-being needs of children and children’s mothers as primary.

Evaluation Studies:

A pre- and post- test assessment was conducted with 23 clients. Findings included:

  • At the end of the intervention, fathers’ levels of hostility, denigration, and rejection of their children and their level of angry arousal to child and family situations had decreased significantly compared to before the intervention

Scott KL, Crooks CV. Preliminary evaluation of an intervention program for maltreating fathers. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention. 2007;7(3):224-238.

Pilot or evaluation studies in progress:

Pre- to post-test assessment of 98 fathers who had completed Caring Dads with evaluation of statistical and clinical significance. The findings, currently submitted for publication, included:

  • Fathers’ self-reported use of over-reactive, hostile and lax responses to child misbehavior improved significantly from pre- to post-intervention with small to medium effect sizes such that men’s ability to be more consistent as well as less negative and hostile in their parenting increased to levels indistinguishable from that of normal population. Rates of clinically significant individual change were equivalent to those for reported in published studies of other parenting programs
  • Changes in fathers’ respectful co-parenting with children’s mothers were statistically and clinically significant such that men’s scores moved from being problematic to being equivalent to those of the normative sample from the beginning to end of intervention
  • Changes in men’s generalized hostility were statistically significant, but small in size and with little evidence for clinical significance
Other publications:

Scott KL & Crooks CV. Intervention for abusive fathers: Promising practices in court and community responses. Juvenile and Family Court Journal. 2006;57(3):29-44.

Crooks CV, Scott KL, Francis K, Kelly T, & Rei M. Eliciting change in maltreating fathers: Goals, processes, and desired outcomes. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. 2006;13:71-81.

Scott KL. & Crooks CV. Effecting change in maltreating fathers. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice. 2004:11;95-111.

Scott K L, Francis KJ, Crooks CV, Paddon M, & Wolfe DA.
(2006). Accountability guidelines for intervention with abusive fathers
(pp. 102-117). In O. Williams, & J. Edleson, (Eds.) Parenting by men
who batter: New Directions for Assessment and Intervention. New
York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Program replicated:



Northwestern Ontario, Toronto, Niagara region, Huron-Perth county, Oxford county, Waterloo region. Oakville, Burlington and Sudbury and soon to be replicated in the provinces of Alberta and Nova Scotia


Boston, Massachusetts (Emerge)
Denver, Colorado
San Diego, California
Henderson and Arlington, Texas


London, UK plus various other areas
Stockholm, Sweden
Dublin, Ireland
Dusseldorf, Germany
Cardiff, Wales

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

Training Contact:

Katreena Scott; e-mail:

Training Notes:

Training manuals/protocols:


Scott K., Francis K., Crooks, C, Kelly T. 2006. Caring Dads: Helping fathers value their children. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing.

Theory manual, currently available upon request, soon to be available in publication.

Training available:



English, German, Swedish

Program Contact