21Oct.

Colorado’s Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative

2007-2011

In 2007, TBG was hired to implement a public awareness campaign to promote responsible fatherhood and the availability of local fatherhood programs. This campaign was part of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative. The multi-faceted Be There for Your Kids public awareness campaign included advertising, media relations, community outreach and Web/interactive activities.

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, nearly 25 million children do not live with their fathers today. The goals of the Be There for Your Kids campaign were to promote awareness and understanding of the availability of assistance to Colorado dads, increase the number of fathers in the target audiences who enrolled and participated in local fatherhood programs, reduce the stigma associated with being a father in the target audiences and drive fathers to a campaign website. The campaign’s primary target audiences included single fathers, non-custodial dads, teenage fathers, incarcerated dads, fathers of children with disabilities and non-English speaking fathers.

Because of the diverse populations included in the target audiences, TBG conducted extensive focus group research prior to the launch of the campaign with four different groups of fathers. Based on the results, we developed an integrated communication and advertising plan, logo, tagline, English and Spanish television spot, 30 second radio commercial and website – www.coloradodads.com - to reach the identified target audiences. The Be There for Your Kids campaign launched in October 2007 with a news conference at the Colorado State Capitol led by former Governor Bill Ritter.

Over the course of the campaign, TBG placed four statewide advertising campaigns totaling $953,139.13. English broadcast and cable, Hispanic broadcast, rural market radio, English and Spanish online banner ads geo-targeted to reach men in Colorado with annual household incomes less than $50,000 and mobile text messaging vehicles were utilized for the PRF Initiative. More than 17,400 value-added radio and television spots were leveraged for an additional $800,000 worth of advertising for the PRF Initiative.

To reach fathers throughout Colorado, TBG created the Colorado Dads website. With versions in both English and Spanish, this site is one of the most comprehensive fatherhood websites in the country. It provides fathers with information on local fatherhood programs, parenting resources, free or low-cost activities and testimonials from dads just like them. The website is also a valuable resource for fatherhood and family service practitioners with links to evidence-based fatherhood curricula, research on connecting with fathers and national and international funding opportunities. From October 2007 – October 2011, the Colorado Dads website received more than 5 million hits, 1.8 million page views and 500,000 unique visitors. TBG was awarded a Gold Pick Award from the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for the site in September 2008.

A comprehensive media relations campaign supplemented the various Be There for Your Kids advertising, web/interactive and community outreach activities. From October 2007 – October 2011, PRF Initiative stories reached more than 35 million people. In June 2011 alone, 53 news stories on the PRF Initiative and responsible fatherhood ran statewide, reaching 3.4 million people. These stories included a front-page feature in The Denver Post on the success of the PRF Initiative, which was picked up by the Associated Press to run in several national news outlets.

Through an extensive community outreach campaign, hundreds of community partnerships were established for the PRF Initiative. TBG worked closely with such organizations as Kroenke Sports, Elvis Dumervil and the Denver Broncos, Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Colorado public libraries, Title I schools and the Nurse-Family Partnership Program to build awareness of the campaign. On average, more than 2,500 Be There for Your Kids posters, flyers, magnets, hats and postcards were distributed to Colorado community organizations every six months.

TBG led a variety of target audience forums throughout this public awareness campaign. During these forums, representatives from fatherhood programs meet to discuss outreach to specific populations of dads. In 2009, target audience forums and field research surveys showed a significant disconnect between state agencies and local fatherhood programs in regards to these agencies referring fathers to available programs and engaging fathers in appropriate cases. Throughout 2009 and 2010, we worked with Colorado Department of Human Services staff to promote and facilitate six father engagement trainings with Child Welfare caseworkers and Child Support technicians, develop two password protected Web portals for these agencies and produce two Child Support educational videos for dads. The Child Welfare portal has been recognized at national Child Welfare conferences and was featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Protecting Children, a quarterly journal published by the American Humane Association.  

Throughout the PRF Initiative, more than 5,000 Colorado fathers requested and received assistance from local fatherhood programs. The U.S. Administration for Children and Families, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and the National Center for Fathering have also recognized the Be There for Your Kids campaign’s innovative outreach to at-risk fathers and families.