In This Issue:

  • What’s New on
  • Statewide Fatherhood Program Survey Still Open
  • Nurturing Fathers Program Facilitator Training
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood In The News
  • August Featured Father
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

What’s New on

With versions in both English and Spanish, the Colorado Dads Web site continues to serve as an all-encompassing resource for fathers and fatherhood practitioners. Because the site is updated almost every day, you may have missed some of our most recent updates.

Revamped Homepage

For more than a year, the Colorado Dads homepage has served as a place for the campaign to highlight the latest My Dad Taught Me videos. In order for the site to become a more interactive place for dads, this page was recently updated to include a fatherhood poll. We are looking for dads to give us their opinions on issues they face every day.

The first question is timely as kids head back to school. “Dads, how father-inclusive do you perceive your child’s school to be?” Take a few minutes and let us know how you feel!

The fatherhood poll feature will rotate with the My Dad Taught Me videos as additional video shoots take place.

Fatherhood Programs

Fifty-nine fatherhood programs are currently listed on the Colorado Dads Web site. The Fatherhood Programs section of the English and Spanish site was recently re-designed to include a page specific search function. Now, users can search for a program in a specific region of the State, by a service keyword (ie, teen dads, non-residential fathers, etc.) or by the full list of programs.

Research Abstracts

Each month, the Child Information Gateway adds new research abstracts to their library. We glean abstracts from this site that focus specifically on fatherhood related research projects, building strong parent/child relationships and reaching at-risk families. Abstracts from February - July 2009 have now been added to the Colorado Data and Research section of the Colorado Dads site.


Statewide Fatherhood Program Survey Still Open

Last month, the Colorado Fatherhood Council issued a statewide survey in an effort to learn more about fatherhood services available throughout Colorado. This survey is still open and we are looking for your feedback!

Our goals with this survey are to further develop our statewide referral database of fatherhood programs on the Colorado Dads Web site and to develop a knowledge base to inform funding, training and research decisions.

If your fatherhood program is not funded by the Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Grant, please take a moment to fill out this survey. Your responses will remain confidential. Results based on the entire group of respondents will be shared and no individuals will be named. Please feel free to also forward the link to the survey to other Colorado fatherhood programs.

The first 100 respondents to the survey will receive four $15 off passes to Elitch Garden’s Amusement Park in Denver.

Sharing your insight and experience is critical to increasing fatherhood resources in Colorado!


Nurturing Fathers Program Facilitator Training

The Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative originally scheduled a Nurturing Fathers Program facilitator training to take place last spring. However, due to inclement weather, this training was canceled. Online registration is now available for a re-scheduled training taking place Thursday, August 27 – Friday, August 28.

Nurturing Fathers Program Facilitator Training
August 27 – 28, 2009
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Families First
2163 South Yosemite Street
Denver, CO 80231

The Nurturing Fathers Program is one of the most successful fatherhood programs developed in the country. The 13-week program is designed to teach parenting and nurturing skills to men who are then able to grow from a distant or uninvolved father to an involved, emotionally and physically present father.

Presenters include: Rich Batten and Ken Sanders

Rich has worked with parents for the last 20 years. He works as a fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services where he currently serves as the administrator of the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Grant. He has maintained certification as a Family Life Educator (CFLE) by the National Council on Family Relations since 1998.

Ken is the program director of the Center on Fathering. The Center, created by the El Paso County Department of Human Services 1995, provides comprehensive services to fathers and their families in the Pikes Peak region.

The Nurturing Fathers Program training registration fee is waived for all currently funded Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Community Access Programs. The cost to attend the training for all other programs is $150 per person per training. Transportation, dinner and hotel accommodations are the responsibility of all registrants (including PRF funded programs).


Program Spotlight – Central Visitation Program – Denver

1. What services do you provide to fathers and families with your community access grant funding?

Central Visitation Program (CVP) provides one-on-one coached parenting time through fatherhood classes. Our fatherhood classes are self paced and also taught one-on-one. This allows parents to move into the program quickly. 

We also offer co-parenting classes. These classes are designed so both parents can come to the same classes, but not at the same time. This allows parents who may not be allowed to be in the same place at the same time to have access to the same materials, tools and parenting tips. That way, when they can communicate with each other to co-parent they have a common basis to do so.

2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?

I, Betsy Sweetland, program administrator, always say that ultimately CVP would like to be put out of work. We would love for there to be no reason for children to ever need to see a parent in a supervised setting. That all of the issues that bring fathers to our doors cease to exist and families who are separated by divorce still work in the best interest of their children. Currently this is not possible.

CVP wants to see each father and/or mother who uses our services to move back into a regular parenting experience with their children. We would like to see the parents truly co-parenting and all of the drama, hurt and confusion the children feel to disappear as they learn they are loved by each parent and can be free to love both parents.

3. Describe at typical day at Central Visitation Program

Most days at CVP have children arriving very excited to see their mother or father. You hear the shouts of “Daddy” as the doorbell rings. You hear the sound of feet running down the hall as children come to greet Dad or Mom. You hear conversations about days, school, pets, friends and dreams. You also hear the very faint sigh of contentment. There may be a Dad working on his 24/7 Dad course work. There will be new parents coming in to do their intakes. Some days there will be a co-parenting class taking place. 

Generally laughter, joy and love fill the floor as children and fathers or mothers play together, spend time with each other and share a meal together in a place that is safe and happy.

4. What is the best part about working with fathers and families?

It’s seeing children run into the arms of a father or mother they have not seen for a while. The families we see have been through stressful times. The children are generally confused about what has and is happening. They seem anxious when they first come to CVP. Generally, as soon as they see their father or mother walk into the room they just relax.

I look forward to seeing a parent have a light-bulb moment where they understand that they can make changes and, most importantly, will make changes to improve the lives of their children. The goal is for the parent to have their children with them in a normal setting outside CVP. I love getting a phone call from a parent saying, “We are finished with CVP. I get to see my child at my home.” Those calls are a time of joy.

5. Share a program/father success story with us.

CVP has a father who made choices when he was younger that took him away from his child, let’s call her Megan. Dad came to CVP after getting out of jail. He told the story about the last time he saw his daughter. He was being taken out of the house in handcuffs after an incident of domestic violence and resisting arrest. It was a very drama filled event. Dad said the second he decided to change his ways was when he looked at his daughter as he was being forced out of their house. He said she looked frightened. She was crying. It was a look he said haunted him for years. The man we met was different from the man he was. He said he just wanted to see his daughter and try to re-establish a relationship. They started slowly.

First they came to CVP two times a month. Megan was a bit unsure. She had not seen her father in five years. Dad moved slowly, letting Megan take the lead. At first she would not eat the dinner he brought. Now they are having a great time playing games, sharing a meal, playing a little basketball and laughing.

Soon Megan and her Dad will be able to move on to the next step. Hopefully we will get to say good-bye and good luck to them as they move out of CVP.  This father did everything we asked him to do. He came to every parenting class we offered and completed the 24/7 Dad program. But more importantly, every decision he has made at CVP has been to help his daughter. He always said whatever Megan needs I want to do. He was willing to start slowly. He was willing to put his needs and desires behind the needs of his daughter. Dad up is what we call it at CVP. Any man can man up but it takes someone more to Dad up. He did and his daughter will continue to benefit from his hard work and dedication.


Fatherhood in the News

The news media has increased its coverage of responsible fatherhood issues since the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day was celebrated just two months ago. Here is a brief synopsis of articles and broadcast stories you may have missed.

White House Launches Fatherhood Initiative


It's been an important part of President Obama's childhood narrative, growing up with an absent father. It was the cornerstone of a historic speech he delivered last year, assailing men who run away from their parenting responsibilities. And now it's a priority for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with the launch of the national fatherhood tour last week. With its first stop in Chicago, Obama's faith-based office will go around the country holding town hall meetings to discuss the importance of fatherhood and speak with community organizations about what policies best work to build strong families.

New Study Measures Benefits of More Involved Fathers

Family service agencies are missing huge opportunities to help children by focusing only on mothers and ignoring fathers, according to a groundbreaking study by some of the nation’s top family and child development researchers.

The scientific study, which is being published today in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, found that when mothers and fathers enrolled together in 16-week sessions to work on their relationships as parents and partners, their children were much less likely to show signs of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.

Rally Held for 100th Anniversary of Father’s Day

Hundreds of people gathered at City Park on Saturday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Father's Day and the importance of fatherhood.

"I love being a dad," said Victor Merchant, a father of two. "These guys have been just amazing."

Celebrating Father's Day is special to Merchant but even more precious is the time he spends with his children.


August Featured Father - Joel Webster

Joel Webster, winner of the 2009 Be There for Your Kids Father of the Year Award, is the most recent dad featured on the Colorado Dads site. A father of two, Joel enjoys launching rockets and fishing for crawdads with this children along with teaching them to learn from each life experience.

What is the hardest part about being a dad?

The hardest part about being a dad is allowing your children to make mistakes. Watching your child fail at something that they have their heart set on is the most difficult thing to experience as a father, because you want nothing but to see their success. What we tell our children when they make mistakes is that the only way they can ever fail at anything is to give up. If they do not give up, they need to chalk it up as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow as a person. But I have to be honest, it is difficult to see the tears when they try really hard at something and it just doesn’t go as planned.

What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

To not assume that every time a child speaks to you about a problem they are in search of your infinite wisdom. They may just need someone to talk to. Listen more than you speak.


Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives

Our public awareness campaign strives to get the message of responsible fatherhood out to local communities in a variety of ways.

The Fastbreak for Fathers blog, written by Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, is updated on a regular basis. Recent topics include "Thoughts form a special needs dadvocate", "Back to school for both you and your kids!" and "The moon and stars and fatherhood". Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.

As online social networking Web sites continue to connect various groups throughout the country, the Be There for Your Kids campaign has created our own fatherhood Facebook and MySpace pages as well as a YouTube channel. We are looking for new fans of these pages to comment on recent fatherhood  notes and videos and discuss relevant topics in the discussion boards. Become a fan today!


Upcoming Events

Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Brainstorming Session
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
1:00 pm. – 3:00 p.m.
The Bawmann Group
1755 High Street
Denver, CO 80218

Exciting plans are developing for the 2009/2010 Be There for Your Kids public awareness campaign. In an effort to connect more with State Child Welfare and Child Support Enforcement departments, we will be hosting a brainstorming session on Wednesday, September 2. The campaign is looking to discuss best practice models already in use with fatherhood programs and these State departments along with innovative partnership ideas. Conference capabilities will be available for those outside of the Denver metro area.

If you are interested in attending this brainstorm, please RSVP to Maggie Spain by Friday, August 28.

Dads Matter – Fatherhood Training
Monday mornings and Tuesday evenings
Hope For Children
Family Strengthening Center
801 W. 4th Street, Suite 104
Pueblo, CO 81003

This isn't your typical Father Knows Best type of training. The Dads Matter program is designed to meet the needs of today's father and is recommended for custodial and non-custodial fathers. Join us for this fun and exciting class that will help fathers: improve their parenting skills, become more emotionally connected to their children, improve their earning ability, control anger, resolve conflict, have more fun being a dad!


Regional Fatherhood Forums

Northern Colorado Dads Fatherhood Forum
Held on various days throughout the month. For more information, contact Tyler Osterhaus, Family Focus Program Manager, Weld County Department of Social Services, Family Focused Prevention Unit at 970.352.1551 X622.

Arkansas River Area Fatherhood Team
A monthly meeting in Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and for sharing ideas related to working with fathers. For more information, contact George Hoherd from the Community Partnership for Child Development at 719.635.1536 x262.

Southwest Fatherhood Coordination Council
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Diana Buza from The Pinon Project at 970.564.1195 x41.

Northwest Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Steve Aurand from Garfield County Department of Human Services at 970.625.5282 x624.

Northeast Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Jackie Reynolds from Rural Solutions at 970.526.3216.

Check out to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Current offers include:
. . .

Free mini golf passes to Putter’s Pride.

$1 bowling at Bowlero Lanes in Lakewood.

Free roundtrip train passage on the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Free admission to the Forney Museum of Transportation.

. . .

Each month, is excited to profile a Colorado dad and his view of fatherhood. If you know of a Dad who works hard to be there for his kids and should be profiled on the Colorado dads Web site, please contact Maggie Spain.

To speak with someone directly about fatherhood support services, please call:

1.877.695.7996 (English)
or 1.866.527.3264 (Spanish).

Trained volunteers from Families First staff this line.

To speak with someone directly regarding the Be There For Your Kids public awareness campaign or the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, please contact an individual listed below.

Colorado Department of Human Services Contact Information:

Rich Batten
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services

Mary Roberto
Manager, Program Development and System Innovation Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division

The Bawmann Group Contacts:
(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – Web site, advertising and media relations).

Jennifer Nuhfer
Vice President of Communications
The Bawmann Group

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group