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

June 4, 2010

Father's Day 2010: Let's Give a Pat on the Back to Colorado Dads

Father’s Day, celebrated on the third Sunday of every June, is the national tradition of honoring fathers of children of all ages. It’s also the perfect time to applaud responsible fatherhood and the unique programs that support healthy father/child relationships in Colorado.

With 27 funded programs located across the state, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative is working with fathers and their children to build strong relationships by providing free classes, mentoring, support systems and opportunities to help dads become the best fathers they can be. In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a five-year federal grant to strengthen paternal relationships and improve the well being of Colorado’s children.
Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The PRF Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in awards to community and faith-based fatherhood programs. The services provided by these programs target fathers of children who are at risk of negative outcomes due to limited father involvement or limited economic support.

Children who grow up without fathers are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. A father can have an incredible impact on a child’s development. In our state, fathers are becoming engaged in their children’s lives through numerous initiatives.
  • Fathers in Ignacio are taking advantage of fatherhood program activities such as father/child reading activities and breakfasts.
  • Greeley fathers and daughters are enjoying quality time together at the annual City of Greeley Father/Daughter dance.
  • In east Denver, fathers are learning about a man’s responsibility to his family and the strong values men of all ages need to help them improve as fathers and providers.
  • Young dads in Colorado Springs are receiving individualized mentoring and hands-on coaching to develop their parenting skills and help them better understand child development.
The initiatives brought forth from Colorado fatherhood programs have spurred a variety of successful fathering stories.
  • In Pueblo, a single father of four worked with a local fatherhood program and social services to gain sole custody of his children after one daughter was placed into state custody. The father has done everything he could to provide for his children by owning a local delivery company while also going to school full-time.
  • One dad in Colorado Springs was so encouraged by the communication methods he learned in his fatherhood class he could not wait to share his own technique with the other dads. The idea was that in order to get his son’s attention, he would gently touch his arm, pat his head or pat his back instead of raising his voice. The method gave the dad confidence in himself to effectively communicate with his son.
  • After 11 years in prison, a recently released father joined a Denver based fatherhood program that helped him enroll in a technical college, find a job, lease an apartment and participate in parenting classes. He has since gained full custody of his teenage daughter and mended ties with his family.
“Part of being a responsible father is also realizing that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Fatherhood is not easy, but there are a variety of effective tools and classes Colorado dads can utilize to become more engaged in their children’s lives. Over the last four years, thousands of Colorado dads have made tremendous strides to be there for their kids.”