“Be There for Your Kids” is a public awareness campaign developed by the Colorado Department of Human Services. The campaign targets Colorado’s fathers and is designed to promote responsible fatherhood across the State. In October 2006, Colorado was the only state and one of two locations in the country – including Washington D.C.- to be awarded a five-year, $10 million federal community access grant with the focus and intent of improving paternal relationships and parenting. The “Be There for Your kids” campaign includes a new Web site, coloradodads.com, which is an all-encompassing resource for dads and families, as well as statewide television advertising and community outreach.

Colorado Fatherhood Programs

Today, nearly 25 million children do not live with their fathers and more than one-third of these children will not see their fathers at all during the course of a year. Research shows that children who grow up without responsible fathers are significantly more likely to experience poverty, perform poorly in school and/or engage in criminal activity. (HHS 2005)

The first year of grant funding from the State has been appropriated and nearly $1.1 million has been distributed to 18 community and faith-based organizations throughout Colorado to pay directly for services that impact the lives of fathers and their children. Contracts are currently in the signature stage for year two funding of an additional $1.1 million. The services and programs offered under the grant target fathers of children who are at risk of negative outcomes due to limited father involvement and/or limited economic support.

Programs throughout the State include mentoring, group counseling, parenting classes and father/child activities.

Healthy Relationships

As we listen to Colorado dads talk about fatherhood it is very evident that they feel that one of the most important things they can do as a father is “be there” for their kids. Being present for your child will look different based on your life circumstances and your child’s age, but at a minimum, it means doing everything you can to connect with your child in a manner that helps them to thrive and enjoy life.

The Colorado Dads Web site was created to direct dads to available programs in their communities and provide them with the parenting and relationship resources they need to be there for their kids.

FRED – Fathers Reading Every Day

FRED is a four-week program originally designed by Texas A&M University to encourage fathers to read to their children every day.

Reading to your child and having an impact on their education is not just a mom thing. In a 1997 study by the U.S. Department of Education, researchers surveyed over 20,000 parents. The results of the study indicated that when fathers took an active role in their children’s education the children were more likely to make A’s, participate in activities like sports and clubs, enjoy school and were less likely to repeat a grade.

Throughout the month of November, Colorado Fatherhood programs will be participating in FRED and encouraging the fathers they work with to read to their children for 15 minutes a day during the first two weeks of the month and 30 minutes a day during the last two weeks of the month.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to the Colorado Domestic Abuse Assistance Program, nearly 5.3 million women ages 18 and older are abused by a spouse or intimate partner in the U.S. each year, resulting in nearly 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths. In Colorado alone, domestic violence programs provided more than 87,000 nights of safety to more than 5,600 women and children during 2006 and turned away more than 5,800 women due to lack of space. In order to address domestic violence issues head on, all of the 36 Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Grant recipients are developing ongoing partnerships with local domestic violence shelters.

Events

Coloradodads.com currently features events across the State ranging from fatherhood forums and practitioner training sessions to weekly movie nights for dads and kids.

On February 29 and March 1, 2008, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative and Colorado Head Start Association will host Moving Ahead by Leaps and Bounds – An Annual Parent and Staff Statewide Training Conference. We are pleased to invite individuals to submit a workshop abstract to be considered to lead presentations during the conference. All abstracts must be postmarked no later than December 15, 2007.

Check out coloradodads.com to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Upcoming offers include movie coupons and tickets to Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games.


Each month, coloradodads.com 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).

This line is staffed by trained volunteers at Families First.

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
303.866.3808
Email

Mary Roberto
Manager, Family Strengthening Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.2641
Email

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
303.320.7790
Email

Maggie Spain
Account Manager
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email