BIHPI Get Smart: The Community Engagement and Mobilization to Support Family Strengthening Project is designed to provide parents, community and faith organizations, providers and other stakeholders with necessary skills, opportunities, relationships, networks, and fortification to raise their children successfully.

The strategies proposed for the BIHPI Get Smart Project are based on the results of the qualitative and quantitative research conducted during the course of the Black Infant Health Practice Initiative (BIHPI). In 2006, after DOH reports indicated that Hillsborough County’s Black Infant Mortality rate was 4.4 times higher than the White rate, Senator Arthenia Joyner and Representative Betty Reed sponsored House Bill 1269 to create a practice collaborative to examine racial disparities in infant mortality.  As a result, section 383.2162, F.S., was passed at the beginning of the 2007-2008 fiscal year creating the BIHPI with a nonrecurring allocation of $1 million for research and development of interventions and strategies in eight Florida counties.  Each of these counties was mandated to develop a Community Action Team (CAT).


The Hillsborough County CAT decided to develop its primary strategies based on its Perinatal Periods of Risk analysis indicating the primary area of intervention as maternal health/prematurity and the second, infant health.  The CAT strategies to address the infant health area primarily focused on the Safe Baby Campaign with the development of a Save Our Babies Toolkit and the training of community stakeholders to make presentations to parents and other community stakeholders working with children.


The analysis of data from focus groups showed a recurring around limited male involvement in pregnancy and raising of children.  Males, in particular, highlighted the lack of child support payments as a barrier to interacting with their children.  Thus, we propose recruiting 50 male residents to participate in 24/7 DadTM support groups.  24/7 DadTM , developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative, is a promising practice, comprehensive fatherhood program that focuses on the five characteristics that a father must have to be “a great dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Participants in the 24/7 DadTM support groups are expected to show significant movement on the Confidence in Parenting Skills Assessment which measures a dad’s confidence in parenting abilities and knowledge in performing parenting duties related to the child’s development, education and school. It is also expected that dads will experience significant movement on the Fathering Inventory and Fathering Skills Survey which indicates increase in pro-fathering knowledge, skills, and attitudes; increase in fathers’ frequency of and healthy interaction with children; and increase in healthy interaction with the mother of fathers’ children. This also indicates decrease in anti-fathering knowledge, skills, and attitudes; decrease in the social, emotional, and physical ills of children.


Related activities include General Financial Literacy and Credit Repair Training, based on the BIHPI research indicating that finances are a major factor hindering dad’s interaction with children and offering 10 scholarships to the REACHUP Affirming fatherhood Conference 2013, in order to honor fathers for exemplary participation in the 24/7 DadTM support groups.


The 24/7 Dad Program is available to 45 fathers of children 0-8 years of age and male partners of prenatal and post partum women residing in East Tampa to include zip codes: 33602, 33603, 33605 and 33610. In 2014, the program will expand to include zip code 33607.


Funder: The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County

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