Figuring It Out For The Child
Figuring It Out for the Child (FIOC) is a unique Resource and Referral (R&R) program designed to support unmarried, non-co-resident African American mothers and fathers having their first baby together. The FIOC program is distinctive on the national scene. Unlike many federally-sponsored “responsible fatherhood” initiatives, the FIOC program connects with the father and mother together throughout the project. Unlike many federally- and privately-sponsored marriage and relationship enhancement programs, no present or future marriage or enduring committed romantic relationship is presumed. At the point of joining the study, fathers and mothers are paired with a Resource & Referral Specialist who remains available to them from the pregnancy through the child’s first birthday. She helps connect families to existing agencies, programs and community resources, with specific focus on those the parents themselves see as being most needed. She continues to check in periodically with families after the baby has been born, to assure that all foreseen and unforeseen needs are being tended to.
Participation also involves registering in a research project, sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Development, for which the parents are paid. Mothers and fathers are interviewed together at three different times:
1) First, prior to receiving community resources
2) Next, when the baby is 3 months old
3) Finally, around the time of the child’s first birthday, when baby is 12 months old
Families who successfully complete all 3 sets of interviews receive a total of $300 in gift cards ($150 for mother and $150 for father).
In addition to receiving gift cards and community resource referrals, families are entered in a random drawing offering them an opportunity to take part in a set of 7 workshops. These Mentor-led workshops are designed to help parents learn ways to work together as they raise their child. As with the R&R program and research project, fathers and mothers must both be agreeable to take part in workshops. Half of the families in the FIOC Resource & Referral Program will be randomly chosen and offered the workshops.
All services are free to families; there are no fees, and the R&R specialist may be called upon as often as needed for assistance. In addition to the incentives offered for research project participation, healthy snacks are provided and transportation assistance is available if needed. Enrollment is now open, and area families living in south St. Petersburg, FL, are encouraged to contact the program office to learn more about registering to take part.
- At least one parent must be African-American
- The couple must be unmarried and having their first child together
- Baby’s due date should be at least 1 month away