Social Work to Study FACT Program

Contact: Brad Duncan

 

""

The Fathers and Children Together, which began in 1992, has received national acclaim as one of seven innovative child abuse prevention programs under the “Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Project” recently implemented by the Children’s Bureau Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

""

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2004) -- Thanks to a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work will participate in a program to help incarcerated fathers bond with their children.

The Fathers and Children Together (FACT) program’s philosophy is to reduce the potential for child abuse and neglect by promoting fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children by creating positive father/child experiences and opportunities for learning inside prison. FACT is jointly sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAK) and Blackburn Correctional Complex (BCC). Mary Secret, associate professor in the College of Social Work, will serve as principal investigator examining the costs and the benefits of the Lexington-based program.

“We are attempting a very comprehensive and rigorous research effort that is possible only because the PCAK and BCC staffs have a sophisticated understanding of what program evaluation means and how it can be used to improve FACT and other similar child abuse prevention programs,” Secret said. “Their level of cooperation with the project and the commitment to child abuse prevention has been more than any university researcher could ever wish for.”

FACT, which began in 1992, includes classroom instruction, special visits for fathers and their children, and unique family outreach and leadership opportunities. Classroom sessions include such topics as discipline, family relationships, communication, and parental substance abuse effects on children. The program has received national acclaim as one of seven innovative child abuse prevention programs under the “Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Project” recently implemented by the Children’s Bureau Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“This program holds promise for rebuilding relationships between fathers and children,” said Kay Hoffman, dean of the UK College of Social Work. “Our research will uncover the aspects of the program that can be replicated, as well as discover what components can be improved. The College of Social Work is an active, engaged participant in the community by bringing our expertise to bear on innovative programs through the rigors of scientific research.”

PCAK is a statewide, non-profit network of parents, professionals and volunteers working together to develop and maintain child abuse prevention programs throughout Kentucky. The group works to meet the needs of parents and children through efforts such as the Statewide Prevention Network, 1-800-Children (a 24-hour/7-day-a-week toll-free hotline that links interested citizens across the state with volunteer opportunities), the “Kids Are Worth It” conference, parent education/support/self-
help groups, a resource library, advocacy/legislative efforts, and educational campaigns such as “Never Shake a Baby.”

“Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky is pleased to be a partner with the University of Kentucky College of Social Work and Blackburn Correctional Complex in the evaluation of our prison-based parenting program,” said Jill Seyfried, PCAK executive director. “We hope this will have a positive outcome to prove not only to Kentuckians, but to the nation, that our FACT program has a positive effect in reducing the incidences of child abuse and neglect.”

Blackburn Correctional Complex is a minimum-security state prison located in Lexington, Ky.

The research team includes Sherry Fairchild, assistant professor, College of Social Work, and co-principle investigator; Seyfried; Bill Briscoe, deputy warden of programs at BCC; David Christianson, College of Social Work doctoral student and evaluation project director; Trey Berlin, prevention specialist-family based and coordinator of the FACT program at PCAK; Joe Humphrey, classification and treatment officer at BCC; Mac Werner, College of Social Work graduate student and research assistant; and Ruth Huebner, child welfare research expert with the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children.


Back to Campus News Homepage