In This Issue:
- October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- 2010 Fatherhood Curricula Trainings
- Program Spotlight
- Connecting the Dots, Connecting Communities Conference Recap
- Highlights of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Forums
- September Featured Father
- Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
- Upcoming Events
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
It is estimated that more than five million American women are victimized by an intimate partner each year. Domestic violence is a critical issue. Men of all ages ? including fathers ? can play a significant role in engaging other men in the fight against domestic violence. Launched in 2008 through the Be There for Your Kids campaign, the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign is participating in several community events this October during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The CMADV campaign encourages men to sign a pledge of commitment to take a visible stand against domestic violence. The CMADV pledge is a promise to speak out about domestic violence and intervene in any violent circumstances that men see happening around them.
On Tuesday, October 5th from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., representatives from the CMADV campaign will participate in the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s annual rally on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol. The theme of this year’s rally is “I’m There for You” and discussions will focus on teen dating violence.
On Wednesday, October 13th from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., a community discussion about machismo, healthy relationships and coming into manhood as a Latino will take place at the Jesus Rodarte Cultural Center in Greeley.>
On Tuesday, October 19th from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., the Empowering Dads Program in Montrose County will host a free screening of the film “Tough Guise” at the Montrose Holiday Inn. “Tough Guise” is a thought-provoking look at the role culture and media play in determining what it means to be a “man” in today’s society. A discussion forum will be held after the screening.
On Thursday, October 21st from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., come out for a special evening of rock n' roll featuring female musicians and female fronted bands at the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop in Greeley! All proceeds will be donated to A Women's Place Shelter. Resource booths are available as well as information on teen dating violence and healthy relationships programs.
For more information on the CMADV campaign, please e-mail Tyler Osterhaus.
2010 Fatherhood Curricula Trainings
The Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative will host several fatherhood trainings for practitioners across the state over the next few months. Online registration is now available for the following trainings:
The Fatherhood Development Curriculum - Monday & Tuesday, October 25th & 26th at Families First, 2163 S. Yosemite St., Denver, CO 80231
The Fatherhood Development Curriculum addresses real experiences and challenges of young fathers through 25 streetwise group sessions that provide support, information and motivation in the areas of parenthood, relationships, sexuality and responsible manhood. The curriculum was developed by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) and field-tested in P/PV?s Young Unwed Fathers Pilot Project.
24/7 Dad - Friday, October 29th at Families First, 2163 S. Yosemite Street, Denver, CO 80231
Focused on the characteristics that men need to be an involved father 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 24/7 Dad is the National Fatherhood Initiative's foundational program.
Nurturing Fathers Program - Wednesday & Thursday, November 3rd & 4th at Families First, 2163 S. Yosemite St., 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.
The Responsible Fatherhood Program - Friday, November 5th at The Pinon Project, 300 North Elm St., Cortez, CO 81321
The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum is intended to assist fathers in more effectively fulfilling their roles as parents, partners and workers. Organized into 20 sessions, the curriculum deals with issues such as male-female relationships, fathers as providers, managing conflict and anger (on and off the job) and race and racism.
Inside/Out Dad - Friday, November 5th at Families First, 2163 S. Yosemite St., Denver, CO, 80231
Inside Out Dad is a fathers re-entry program developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative that provides practical and innovative ways to help overcome the physical and psychological challenges that incarcerated fathers face Inside (while incarcerated) and Out (after release).
Caring Dads - Monday & Tuesday, November 1st & 2nd at Families First, 2163 S. Yosemite St., Denver, CO, 80231
Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their Children is a group intervention program for fathers. The Caring Dads program focuses on helping men recognize attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that support healthy and unhealthy father-child relationships, develop skills for interacting with children in healthy ways and appreciate the impact on children of controlling, intimidating, abusive and neglectful actions including witnessing domestic violence.
The registration fee for these trainings is waived for all currently funded PRF Community Access Programs. The cost to attend a training for all other programs is $150 per person, per training (continental breakfasts and lunches are included in registration) unless otherwise noted. Online registration will close for these trainings on Friday, October 8, 2010.
Program Spotlight — Jefferson County Child Support Services Fatherhood Program — Golden
1. What services do you provide to fathers and families with your community access grant funding?
The program links fathers to free mediation and facilitation services that focus on parenting plans, child support orders and/or arrears balances and relationship issues such as parenting time and communication. Weekly fatherhood group meetings feature opportunities for training, mentoring and networking. Moms are invited and do come! Jefferson County also has a Work Force Development liaison who connects dads to job coaches, job fairs, career assessment and planning, job search/referral, resume writing and job skills training.
In today's economy, an important service provided by the program has been the review and potential modification of child support orders to adjust to underemployment. This is often coordinated with negotiations around child support arrears balances and re-negotiation of the balances and payment plan. There is no cost for this service, unless the one-time application fee to open a case with CSS is needed.
For families involved with child welfare, the program assists fathers in being active in treatment plans.
Non-custodial parents can be referred to a variety of Human Services "in-house" programs such as a Veteran program and ex-felon services, the local Workforce Center, Head Start Program and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. Custodial parents have access to individual coaching sessions to address concerns associated with fathers becoming emotionally engaged and integrated into the family.
Although not supported by the program’s Community Access Grant funding, Jefferson County has leveraged funds by connecting core fatherhood activities to not only child support services that help fathers establish paternity, but also the Child Support Problem Solving Court, which is modeled after drug courts and meant to offer alternatives to straight jail sentences through the development of action plans. Action plans can include subsidized work release or community service with special adjustments to the rules so that the father can have an easier time working or seek work during the sentence and pay child support at the same time. The Jefferson County Non-Custodial Parent Specialist has been able to develop leaders among the dads in the program through a special mentoring program called "Ten To The Third Power Men-TORS.” One great advantage for a father with a child support case is that often an attorney and court time can be avoided. Most case services are delivered administratively, without the need of a courtroom and a judge's signature. Avoiding litigation is often the first step in building a solid relationship between parents on behalf of their children.
Jefferson County also provides two annual family training activities. In 2010, the program hosted The Mustang Center event, which included Child Support Specialists and their families joining with the fathers and children they are serving to enjoy a day learning communication and relationship skills by interacting with horses. The program also hosted a training event in Estes Park where fathers shared dreams and goals around campfires, went horseback riding and hiking and participated in a graduation ceremony complete with a necktie ceremony and rite of passage for young fathers.
2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?
Our goal is to pave the way for fathers to be engaged in their children's lives, consistently meet their child support orders, provide health insurance and be an active parent and emotional support to their children. Human Services is traditionally NOT a "father-friendly" environment. Our program would like to change the overall culture of Human Services where fathers are concerned. We want to assist our participants in obtaining reasonable child support orders, access to their children and stable employment.
3. Describe at typical day at Jefferson County Child Support Services Fatherhood Program.
A typical day will consist of fielding phone calls, answering questions and navigating dads to various resources/services. I, Ray Washington, program administrator, meet with dads for individual coaching/mentoring sessions. Often, I am called on by Child Support Technicians to sit in on administrative negotiation conferences where genetic testing results have established paternity. I then am able to help the father begin his journey as a parent.
I also attend court and child welfare hearings to testify as an expert witness on child welfare and allocation of parental responsibility hearings. I am constantly attending meetings with inter-agency collaborators, as well as community partners to build new and strengthen existing partnerships.
4. What is the best part about working with fathers and families?
The best part is watching dads overcome obstacle/barriers so that they can spend time with their children. Then, watching the mothers and fathers work together to make decisions for their children. There is nothing like seeing a father and child interact, after the dad has spent endless hours completing paperwork, parenting plans and court dates to legitimize himself as a dad.
5. Share a program/father success story with us.
For the past six months I have been working with a father who is involved in a child welfare case. This dad is 17-years-old and has had a few “brushes” with the law. He is a high school dropout and did not have much going for himself at the time we met - other than a beautiful 18-month-old daughter. Our program began working with him and his caseworker from his initial team decision making meeting. In partnership with dad, we sat down and developed a plan of action. He agreed that it was in the best interest of his daughter that he complete his GED, obtain a job, attend all scheduled meetings with his case worker and did not miss any scheduled supervised visits with his daughter.
Here we are six months later. This dad has successfully completed his GED, is working and paying his child support every month and has registered to attend Red Rocks Community College. He has not missed or been late to any of his scheduled supervised visits. He is receiving excellent reports from his caseworker and visitation worker. He has produced clean urine analysis on all drug tests. This young father has now progressed to unsupervised visits with his daughter and the caseworker is ready to recommend reintegration for the child and dad.
I have observed the positive changes that have taken place in the life of this young dad over the past six months. He has worked very hard to overcome several barriers and now he is beginning to reap the rewards of the seeds he sowed. I have watched his self-esteem and self-worth grow to another level since he found out he passed his GED tests. He is a better, man, father and son since he walked into the doors of our program. For that, I am certain his daughter will thank him one day.
Connecting the Dots, Connecting Communities
Almost five years ago, Weld County Commissioners began a conversation with the nation’s largest volunteer group, churches and faith-based entities. The question was posed: What if we began to work together to help meet the needs of our community?
This idea gave birth to the Weld Faith Partnership, a county wide initiative that seeks to address community issues through the development of a proactive, collaborative approach that assists at-risk families in accessing support through community faith-based organizations, government entities, non-profit human service agencies and local businesses. Quite simply the Weld Faith Partnership established a venue in which everyone who had an interest in helping the community could come together to explore the idea of what a true partnership could look like.
But with any successful relationship comes trust issues. “It wasn’t easy in the beginning stages,” New Horizons Christian Church Pastor Rob Thomas said. “We would sit across the table from one another and just stare at each other. But we began to recognize that we both brought unique expertise to family care. Human Services may work with a family to get them on their feet for a few years, but churches may work with that same family and their kids for generations to come. We had to get to the point where we believed in what we both had to offer to these families and then trust each other to deliver the results.”
Breaking through the usual walls of collaboration, Weld County has partnered with faith-based organizations to extend help into families in need throughout the county. Whether it has been with the PRF Initiative or the Healthy Marriage and Healthy Relationships Initiative, much of the teaching, training and programming has come from the faith community.
Tyler Osterhaus, the Family Focus Program Manager with Weld County Department of Human Services, has had an opportunity to partner with a number of faith-based organizations within Weld County through these programs. “When we first got to the table there was tension from both sides as we sought to find common ground, but we’ve never had a problem with churches proselytizing as everyone adhered to the faith-based guidelines. The people that stepped up to be part of this initiative have a lot of integrity ? they always put the client first and because of that our programs are better off than if we tried to tackle these issues on our own.”
On Thursday, August 26, 2010, Weld County hosted the “Connecting the Dots, Connecting Communities Conference” partially sponsored by the regional Administration for Children and Families and the Colorado Department of Human Services to showcase how these relationships have been built and work.
Highlights of Faith-Based and Neighborhood
The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as invited to Denver by Senator Michael Bennet, drew a good crowd in both Colorado Springs and Denver on September 21st and 22nd at two community forums. The forums highlighted various financial and resource opportunities that exist through the federal government. Spokespeople from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Colorado Governor's Commission on Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education all spoke about their desires to build bridges between the federal government and secular and faith-based organizations in Colorado. Questions were answered and knowledge was gained by all attending.
September Featured Father — Robert Sobel
Denver resident Robert Sobel is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. A father of one and volunteer with Safehouse Denver, Robert enjoys watching movies and cooking with his son as well as teaching and watching him become a man.
What is the best part of being a dad?
To be able to witness and share all of the countless experiences Will goes through. I can?t wait to see him each and every morning and I can?t wait to see him at the end of every day. I love witnessing the day-by-day changes in his growth and his confidence and self-discovery. I love being there for him. I love watching how the world responds to him and how he loves experiencing the world. I love his supreme confidence in himself as it grows inside and out.
What would you hope that your child would say about you if asked what kind of a dad he has?
I guess I would hope Will would say that I was honest and open with my feelings and actions. That he knew I was always ready to have fun and laugh and that I was kind, gentle and loving and never compromised when it came to my love of him or how I treated and loved his mom, Betty!
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 fatherhood and family specialist Dan Welch, is updated on a regular basis. Recent topics include “Earning Respect” and “Losing a Child”. Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic e-mail announcements when it is updated.
Another reminder that the Be There for Your Kids Facebook page is back! We encourage you to “Like” this page and comment on fatherhood news articles and notes as we increase our number of followers. Be sure to also check out our YouTube channel for the latest campaign videos.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Kinship Provider Conference
Saturday, October 9, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Carpenter Recreation Center, Thornton
In recognition of those grandparents raising grandchildren, this conference includes free workshops, speakers, resources, food and prizes.
“Tough Guise” Film Showing
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Holiday Inn, Montrose
Join Empowering Dads, Hilltop's Tri-County Resources and Montrose County Department of Health and Human Services for this special screening of the film, "Tough Guise", a thought-provoking look at how culture and media determine what it means to be a “man” in today’s society. A discussion forum will be held after the viewing. There is no charge for this event.
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 meeting on the first Wednesday of every month in Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and 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.