Coloradodads.com is a service of the Colorado Practitioner Network for Fathers & Families (CPNFF). The CPNFF has a strong history in Colorado, dating back to 1996 under the leadership of then Governor, Roy Romer. Governor Romer created a Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood to address the growing number of cases where fathers are not engaged in their children’s lives. National research results show that 24 million children (34 percent) live absent their biological father. (source: www.fatherhood.gov).
Between 1996 and 2006 the task force was maintained by the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children and eventually became a steering committee within the auspices of the child welfare division of the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). In 2006, the Colorado Works division of CDHS, applied for and received a five-year $10 million federal community access grant. This federal funding supported fatherhood services throughout the state and provided an opportunity to build capacity among the professionals working with dads each day. During the community access grant's five-year existence CDHS awarded 63 programs contracts of up to $50,000 each to provide direct services to dads. Over 6,000 Colorado fathers received services which were required to include participation in a parenting class. It was during this time that the fatherhood committee became known as the Colorado Fatherhood Council. The council was a continuation of the past taskforce and steering committee and served an advisory role to the Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Grant. The council was administrated by CDHS but was never put into statue as an ongoing council or committee.
Between 2006 and 2013, the CFC was jointly led by the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Colorado Works and the Center on Fathering in Colorado Springs. In 2011, CDHS applied for a new Responsible Fatherhood Grant from ACF but did not receive an award and has since reallocated or laid off staff associated with that work. However, CDHS did agree to maintain the council with the engagement of its membership. This continued for over a year at which time it was determined that CDHS was no longer in the position to maintain an active leadership role with the council or maintain the current assets. It was therefore agreed that CDHS would release the current assets to an entity that could maintain them and help channel the interests and efforts of the council’s membership.
In September 2013, It’s My Community Initiative (IMCI) received the endorsement from the leadership of both the CFC and CDHS to transition the council to a more sustainable structure. IMCI with the help of a Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation planning grant approached select Colorado-based non-profits to restructure the existing council into a self-sustaining practitioner’s network.
In January 2014 after a vote from the CFC membership, Families First was named as the new facilitating agency for the Colorado Practitioner Network for Fathers and Families. The CPNFF operates www.coloradodads.org and continues to identify professional resources to support fatherhood and foster a community of service providers, decision makers, and dads focused on parent access and engagement with their children.