Father Involvement in Early Head Start Programs




Helen H. Raikes, Jean Ann Summers, and Lori A. Roggman

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Early Head Start Home-Based Option


This study examined fathers' participation in Early Head Start programs using quantitative and qualitative data from 326 Early Head Start fathers when children were 36 months of age. About half (49%) of the fathers were involved in at least one program activity. A quarter (26%) of the fathers participated at a higher level, in two or more types of program activities. Fathers participated in parent education programs (17%), group socializations (15%), father-only activities (6%), policy councils and program committees (9%), home visits (32% ever, 17% monthly), and in dropping children off at the Early Head Start center (24% ever, 12% nine times or more). In multivariate analyses, at least one level of involvement was predicted by maternal engagement in the program and maturity of the father involvement program. Higher level involvement in the program was predicted by the father being African American/Black or Hispanic, maternal engagement in the program, and maturity of the father involvement program. Bivariate analyses showed that fathers in predominantly home-based programs who participated in frequent home visits were more often married, non-English speaking, and in families where both mothers and fathers had lower than typical levels of education. Fathers in predominantly center-based programs who frequently dropped off the Early Head Start child at the center were more often men of color, fathers of girls, and partnered with an employed mother or a mother rated as engaged in the Early Head Start program. Qualitative analyses underscore the potential for father program participation in mature programs and among policy-relevant groups. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews
  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Raikes, H. H., Summers, J. A., & Roggman, L. A. (2005). Father involvement in early head start research programs. Fathering, 3(1), 29-58. doi:10.3149/fth.0301.29
Author Contact Information:
Helen H. Raikes


  • Participant Recruitment, Retention, Engagement, and Dosage