The Center for Children and Families of Western New York in partnership with the Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network (BPPN) is seeking fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other male caregivers, as well as their children, to participate in a study will be held at The Chapel’s Cheektowaga campus.
The goal is to uncover scientific evidence about what helps to improve a child’s happiness regarding their relationships with fathers or father figures at an early preschool age.
Brittany Merrill and Greg Fabiano work at the Center for Children and Families at WNY, a chapter of Florida International University, at Snyder.
“It’s funded by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and we’re researching the best ways to support fathers of young children,” Merrill said. “We do this through a program in the community, Nurturing Fathers, … and the work of Dr. Fabiano.”
Previously, Fabiano had developed a program called “Coaches” which Merrill said was similar to Nurturing Fathers. Foster dads and coaches teach parents positive parenting skills, she said, and how to handle the behavior. The coaches, however, involve father and child interacting during the session.
“Fathers learn the skills and then go out and coach the child and use those positive parenting skills in real life, like in a football game,” Merrill said. “The current study examines foster fathers with this interaction component.”
Participants will be assigned to one of three groups: the first being simply to attend foster father meetings for eight weeks, the second where parent-child play activities are planned on the Cheektowaga campus, and another which combines these two components, essentially with the interaction of the father after a meeting of foster fathers and the use of skills learned during the meeting to facilitate this interaction.
“The dads interact with the kids after the session, with the facilitator there to support them,” Merrill said. “We want to see if it’s useful to have this interaction piece after the words.”
Fabiano said the study aims to see what works and will pay participants $50 for their feedback.
“The best way to do that is to ask those who are on the program,” Fabiano said. “What was their opinion on the approach? To thank them for completing these study measures, they are given compensation.
Fabiano said the funding through the CDC was granted because of the importance of fathers to children’s development.
The grant will last for three years and will include approximately 150 parent-child groups, of which approximately 50 will participate in the study each year.
“Fathers are important, right? said Fabien. “They do a lot of things. They make a unique contribution to child development. They can be very important in facilitating language growth. They do a lot in terms of socialization for the child.
Fabiano said part of this development can be seen in how children interact with other children.
“Rough, tumbling game,” he said. “You see a lot of fathers doing with kids. This turns out to be really important, because that’s when toddlers, toddlers, and preschoolers learn, “How far can I push?” and what is appropriate in game situations.
“We hope they bring that to their preschools and elementary schools, that you can’t be aggressive, but you can ‘buddy up.’”
Fabiano also said that the father is important throughout the life of the child, including in academic success, as well as in improving the health and well-being of the child’s other caregiver. .
With all of this research pointing to the advantage fathers have in their children’s lives, there is less information about how best to teach them to embrace the opportunity and be a positive part of one’s life. a child.
“We haven’t really done a good job in the research area of looking to see how these programs work when they’re done well in the community,” he said.
“These programs take place in communities all over America…run by community agencies…so one of the purposes of this study is to learn more about ‘Does it work the way it does the way it usually does done in our communities?’ ”
Through the BPPN, Fabiano said the study could bear fruit, because of the agency’s work and its knowledge of the men who might be involved.
“We’re really trying to make it a community effort by working with agencies to identify men who we think could benefit from the program,” Merrill said.
The project will start in the spring of 2022 and will recruit people until the beginning of March.
For more information, interested parties can call 716-572-7030 or go online to go.fiu.edu/fathers.