Our premise is simple and validated by research and results: men want to do their best as fathers, are most receptive to support as they become fathers, and learn best from other men already on the job.
Fathers-to-Be Are Highly Receptive to Support and Behavior Change
Princeton’s Center for Research on Child-Wellbeing found that even among unwed new fathers, the vast majority are committed to their child, but many need support early on to handle their new responsibilities (2001). It also found that the months surrounding the child’s birth are a window of opportunity during which fathers are most receptive to support and behavior change. The Center’s Sara McLanahan, PhD, testified before Congress that the “birth is a magical moment that policymakers should not let slip by“. The Center’s earlier evaluation of programs targeted at men owing child support, which attempted to involve them in their child’s life well after birth, found they failed because the men were not motivated to do so.
Boot Camp for New Dads Is Effective in Preparing Men to Be Fathers
Many organizations that have identified Boot Camp for New Dads as a best practice program that delivers support at the time when new fathers are most receptive, and in a manner proven to be a powerful formula for preparing men to be dads. In addition to its unique ability to attract participants, Boot Camp also enjoys high rates of satisfaction from those who attend.
One example among many of Boot Camp’s effectiveness is Denver’s Five Points/Whittier Neighborhood, with 55% living below the poverty level and 6 of 10 children living without a dad. 172 men participated in a Boot Camp workshop and outcomes included increases in:
- Participation in parenting classes and doctor visits
- Knowledge of infant development, care, child abuse prevention, strategies for crying, etc.
- Supportive behavior regarding the new mom
- Involvement in infant care
Boot Camp’s approach of father-to-father support provides a safe environment for men to open up about their doubts and fears, which is not otherwise possible according to The Importance of Fathers in The Healthy Development of Children (2006) from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This approach was also identified as a key factor in a program for fathers-to-be piloted in Australia and described in The Journal of Perinatal Education, Spring 2005.
Boot Camp for New Dads Is a Model of Social Entrepreneurship
Scaling For Impact: Strategies for Spreading Social Innovations (Stanford Social Innovation Review 2004) identified Boot Camp for New Dads as a model program for replication in new communities. It offers support and a “level of detail that makes implementation easy for the local sponsors and helps assure the quality and success of the program while still affording flexibility to adapt to local circumstances.”
The Return on Investment in Supporting Fathers Is Substantial
The scope and magnitude of problems children face that are associated with absent, disconnected or abusive fathers are staggering according to the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father Facts. It also presents research finding that, in addition to not facing problems such as abuse and neglect, children whose fathers are a consistent, positive force in their lives do better socially, intellectually, physically and on a broad range of other factors ranging from economic status in childhood to peer relationships in adolescence, to productivity as adults. This relationship also brings profound benefits to their fathers, as well as their mothers.
Given the damage to children from their fathers’ failures, the high motivation of new fathers and the limited costs of supporting them, no investment in our children’s welfare is more worthwhile. Sadly, while the nation spends enormous amounts due to our fathers’ failures, we only do so after they fail.
Research and Results
- Logic Model: Explains the logic model of the Boot Camp for New Dads program, including activities; outputs; short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes.
- Confidence Boost for Dads-to-be: Results compiled in 2012 from more than 2,000 post-Boot Camp evaluations from across the U.S. Data overwhelmingly supported the positive impact Boot Camp has on its participants, including feeling more confident about becoming a father, creating a parenting team with the baby's mother and bonding with the baby.
- 40+ Top Fatherhood Resources: Boot Camp for New Dads is listed as a top resource for fathers on this list from the Annie E. Casey foundation.
- Importance of Infant-Father Attachment: Research by Robert M. Capuozzo, Bruce S. Sheppard, and Gregory Uba evaluating Boot Camp for New Dads' impact on how fathers bond and attach to their infants because of activities and lessons taught at Boot Camp.
- Hit the Ground Crawling in Staffordshire, England: Research from the Fatherhood Institute on Hit the Ground Crawling (Boot Camp for New Dads) program in England after piloting the program at four locations. Includes background, goals, methodology, and findings.
- Boot Camp for New Dads Outcome Evaluation: Results of a survey administered to former Boot Camp for New Dads workshop participants in Denver, Colorado in June 2006.