Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group

February 11, 2009

A Father's Promise

We need them (fathers) to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one - President Barack Obama, Father’s Day 2008.

Father absence can strongly impact a child’s quality of life. As we celebrate Black History Month, more than half of African-American children in the U.S. are living without their fathers.

The media has frequently featured stories of father absence, culminating in the MSNBC documentary – A Father’s Promise – that aired on February 8. The piece chronicled the lives of three children from Newark, New Jersey and their fathers’ failure to be there for them as they grew up.

But what this documentary and other stories often fail to discuss is that there are programs addressing the burdens faced by fathers to help them become involved in their children’s lives. Colorado has become a national leader in providing fatherhood services through a five year federal grant the State received in 2006.

Our programs are reaching African-American fathers and fathers of all races. We’re working with ex-offender fathers to give them the tools needed to reduce recidivism. We’re working with non-custodial fathers to help them navigate the child support system, apply for jobs and lovingly parent their children instead of choosing to be absent.

This fatherhood work indicates that it’s not all negative and that it’s time for Coloradans to be reminded of triumphant stories of lives and families that have been restored.

Rich Batten
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services

Troy Grimes
Fatherhood Advocate
Lowry Family Center

Ray Washington