|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Michael Kharfen|
|Tuesday, May 30, 2000||(202) 401-9215|
HHS PROVIDES FATHERHOOD PROJECTS WITH INNOVATIVE
ELECTRONIC TOOL KIT
Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Kevin Thurm today announced the availability of a unique Internet-based electronic software package that will provide a free, easily accessible management tool kit for fatherhood projects. The HHS-developed Web-based management tool kit removes a "stumbling block" that can too often challenge evaluation efforts of small, start-up programs. The software can be obtained by simply going to the HHS Fatherhood Initiative Web page at http://fatherhood.hhs.gov.
HHS provides funding to states and communities for projects that provide a range of employment, parenting, and other services to fathers and non-custodial parents, including the Responsible Fatherhood Project, Parents' Fair Share, Partners for Fragile Families, Healthy Start, and Access and Visitation Programs. In addition, HHS' Head Start program, including Early Head Start, continues to develop new and innovative ways to increase the parenting skills of both fathers and mothers and to engage them in program activities. HHS also is working with the Department of Labor to implement the Welfare-to-Work program, including programs that help low-income, non-custodial parents of children on welfare move into lasting, unsubsidized employment.
"HHS demonstrates leadership in the new technology frontier with an innovative, easy and free management tool to assist programs with helping fathers better support their children financially and emotionally," said Deputy Secretary Thurm. "Too often, new projects lack the immediate resources or ability to assess performance in a systematic way or even track a client's progress. To be effective, social service programs must continually have timely information, so they can make good on the promise they offer."
There can be challenges in starting-up new projects. The development of an Internet-based electronic management information system is a unique means to enhance program management. The HHS system can be downloaded as a self-executing computer file that can be installed into a program's computer system directly from the HHS Fatherhood Initiative Web site. Projects can tailor the electronic system to their own needs. The system can also be used as a "paper and pencil" tool.
"Often overlooked, effective management tools are critical to evaluating program performance," said Olivia A. Golden, HHS assistant secretary for children and families. "Without timely data, we cannot answer critical questions about how well a project has done in helping people and in reaching its goals."
Currently, there is no single source of funding for many newly operating fatherhood programs, nor for the evaluation of these projects. Management information systems are key to measure the effect on clients and their families. The new software can be used by any project, including ones not funded by HHS. As these projects grow and expand, this tool will help the emerging fatherhood field to gain a better understanding of how to effectively meet the needs of fathers and their families. The need for new and better management and evaluation tools was identified as part of the HHS and Ford Foundation collaboration to support projects servicing fathers and young, unwed families.
"Responsible fatherhood projects are critical to help low-income families succeed," said David Gray Ross, commissioner, office of child support enforcement. "The programs promote work and enhance family involvement by fathers as well as generate improvements in the collection of child support."
Note: For other HHS Press Releases and Fact Sheets pertaining to the subject of this announcement, please visit our Press Release and Fact Sheet search engine at: http://www.os.dhhs.gov/news/press/.