Fatherhood Training Academy – Changing the Face of Fatherhood

November 1-3, 2007 marked the first annual Fatherhood Training Academy sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Colorado community access grant recipients gathered together at the academy to build awareness of different fatherhood programs, grant basics, how to work with their local media and cultural competency issues. The grant recipients also met for a domestic violence training on relevant issues and how to develop partnerships with local domestic violence shelters.

“The intent of this academy was to bring fatherhood programs from all across the state together to discuss best practice models,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Each program has seen success with a different education or training model, so these sessions gave fatherhood practitioners the opportunity to explore what might work for them. As we move forward with year two of our funding, programs now understand grant basics, our evaluation methods and are exploring various ways to reach the fathers and children in their communities.”

Building Fatherhood Programs

Helping dads become a positive, nurturing, guiding and providing presence in the lives of their children is all about relationships. In addition to providing dads with parenting and relationship resources, coloradodads.com also strives to provide fatherhood practitioners with the latest research and curricula available to help build paternal relationships.

Looking for Colorado specific data? In June 2006, the Lewin Group and its partners – the University of Colorado's Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Policy Studies (JHU) and Capital Research Corporation (CRC) conducted an in-depth study of the Colorado Works program. The study was designed to provide administrators with information about program strategies and approaches used in various Colorado counties that others might find useful for improving program implementation, performance and outcomes.

Colorado Program Spotlight

Lifelong Adult Education Services, Denver

  1. What services do you provide to fathers with your community access grant funding?

    Lifelong Adult Education Services, Inc., provides one on one and small group parenting skills training and couples/relationship training for fathers who have disabilities or who have children with disabilities. We have two masters’ level therapists who work with fathers and their families in their homes or in our office to provide support around understanding disabilities.

  2. What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?

    With this grant, we aim to assist fathers in learning how to parent and be involved with their children despite their disabilities.  We would also like help families understand and accept their children who have disabilities so they can support them and help them to achieve their fullest potential.

  3. Describe at typical day at Lifelong.

    A typical day at Lifelong AES, Inc. is busy with outreach to various community agencies both in the disability community and other social service communities. Our work with the fathers we have in our program is very individually based. Counseling with fathers who have a disability is typically focused on identifying their strengths and ways to compensate for their limitations. For example, if a father has difficulty reading, we may suggest to him that he find books on tape that he can play and read along with his child.  For fathers who have children with disabilities, the focus is on educating dad on the different needs the child may have and reordering his expectations of what the child can and can not do.

  4. What is the best part about working with fathers?

    The best part of this work is being a part of growth and change in a family.  It is seeing fathers go from stress and chaos over dealing with disabilities, whether in themselves or their children, to learning to accept and find the strengths in themselves and their kids.

  5. Share a program/father success story with us.

    One of our success stories involves a father named Jim. We have been working with Jim since July. He is married and has a 3-year-old son and a 10-year-old son with Down's Syndrome. When we first met Jim, he was feeling stressed and overwhelmed with his job and various activities. He was uncomfortable in his interactions with his 10-year-old son so much so that he would often avoid spending time with him one on one. Through counseling, Jim has been able to deal with his feelings of grief around having a son with Down's Syndrome. He has now learned to accept and appreciate his son and enjoy the wonderful strengths and attributes his son possesses. Jim and his boys have created a father and sons evening every week that is focused on learning and just being together. Jim has said that he feels much more comfortable and is now at peace with himself.

November’s Featured Father

David Meyer – Construction Foreman – Father of Two

Each month, coloradodads.com is excited to feature both notable and every day Colorado dads. Our featured father for the month of November, David Meyer, spends time with his two children by going to the swimming pool, building rockets and even designing playgrounds. Here’s a brief snippet of David’s thoughts on fatherhood –

  • What kind of father do you strive to be?
    I strive to be a role model, a listener, teacher and, most importantly, a loving father.
  • What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?
    Patience. With every aspect of fatherhood and parenting, patience needs to come first.

Children Need a Father’s Presence, Not Presents During the Holiday Season

It is not surprising that in today’s world between work schedules, school and afternoon activities, fathers find themselves swept away in the chaos of every day. It is crucial to remember the importance of carving away time each day to spend with your children. The holiday season is a perfect time for fathers across Colorado to remember what truly matters by giving their children the gift of time.

Research continues to report that father-child involvement has a profound impact on a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. Fathers can easily spend quality time with their children by doing meaningful activities together like crafts or reading.

Upcoming Events

Legal Night at Mi Casa - An opportunity for free legal consultations. Get information regarding legal questions including immigration, credit, housing, landlords, employment issues and family law. Held on the third Thursday of every month from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women

360 Acoma Street
Denver, CO 80223.

Dads Make a Difference – 9th Annual National Fatherhood and Families Conference A premiere national conference for those working with fathers and families, incarcerated parents, multicultural programs, networking, emerging strategies for capacity building and opportunities to develop a national network of practitioners. Scheduled for March 3-7, 2008 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

Call for Presenters – The Colorado Department of Human Services and Colorado Head Start Association are pleased to invite individuals to submit a workshop abstract to be considered to lead presentations during our parenting and staff training conference scheduled for February 29-March 1, 2008. 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. Current offers include Christmas photo coupons, tickets to Denver Nuggets games and free ice skating passes.


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