Regional Fatherhood Forums Launch
We are excited to announce the launch of regional fatherhood forums throughout the state. Facilitated by community access grant recipients, these forums gather fatherhood practitioners together to share program challenges and best practice models.
Front Range Fatherhood Forum
Held on the third Friday of every month from 9:00-10:30 am. For more information, contact Amy Davis from Lifelong Adult Education Services at 303.573.0839 x107.
Southeast Fatherhood Forum
Held on the last Monday of every month at 1:30 pm. For more information, contact George Hoherd from the Community Partnership for Child Development at 719.635.1536 x262.
Southwest Fatherhood Coordination Council
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Diana Buza from The Pinion Project at 970.564.1195 x41.
Northwest Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Steve Aurand from Garfield County Department of Human Services at 970.625.5282 x624.
Northeast Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Jackie Reynolds from Rural Solutions at 970.526.3216.
Community Access Grant Funds for Year Two Distributed
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is set to distribute $1.1 million in funding to an additional 23 community based organizations throughout the state as part of the second year of funding of the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Program. The selected organizations provide direct services to fathers and offer paternal parenting training and healthy marriage and relationship training as core services. CDHS will now be funding a total of 42 fatherhood programs with our federal grant funding.
The funding announcement for the October 1, 2008 – September 30, 2009 Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Program funding cycle will be posted in early spring 2008.
Colorado Program Spotlight
Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement - Fatherhood Program
- What services do you provide to fathers with your community access grant funding?
The Fatherhood Program helps dads identify and overcome barriers they face in maintaining an active role in their children’s lives, become and remain current on financial obligations to their children and find on-going support in the community.
Through a case planning process, a dad’s strengths are identified, opportunities evaluated and discussed and a simple written plan formulated.
Our fatherhood tune-up class is offered to all non-residential dads in Jefferson County free of charge. The 8 session classes include: Father as Son, Father as Role-Model, Father as Nurturer, Father as Problem Solver, Father as Provider, Father as Co-Parent, Father as Communicator and Father as Community Member. The class is offered at various locations around Jefferson County as well as to incarcerated fathers at the Jefferson County Detention Center.
- What do you ultimately want to achieve with your program?
We have three goals: First, is helping “willing but not able” dads meet the financial obligations of caring for their children. Second, is assisting fathers in moving towards self-reliance and maturity by growing as individuals and fathers. Finally, we want to raise awareness of the need to address the specific issues facing fathers in the arena of human services in Jefferson County. We want to make fatherhood a central part of Jeffco Child Support enforcement as this photo of our office illustrates.
- Describe a typical day.
It is a balance between spending time helping dads move to a more stable place in their lives, preparing for classes and working with community partners who are also providing services to our dads. Additionally, we spend time promoting the Colorado fatherhood movement by offering seminars at state or national conferences.
- What is the best part about working with fathers?
The best part of working with fathers is knowing that within each father is the desire to really be a good dad, even if they have not had a particularly good father themselves or have not been a good father in the past. I, Al Wengerd, tell dads, “You’ll never be this powerful again; you are shaping your child’s future either by your absence and neglect or your presence and being there for them.”
- Share a program/father success story with us.
Here’s a glimpse inside the Fatherhood Tune-Up class on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at the Jefferson County Work-Release Center.
As the guys assembled, they seemed eager to get together, especially one dad who wanted to tell me and others about what happened last week. He said, “Al, you would have been proud of me, I did an I over E!” He was referring to an exercise that we worked on last week which is Intelligence over Emotions = Maturity. I made the observation the week before that in all likelihood, all of them were in jail because they lived by the principle of “E over I” instead of I over E.
As the father’s employer was returning him at the end of the day, his cell phone rang and his girlfriend described to him a situation where her nephew mistreated her. He said it took him 20 minutes to calm down and he kept thinking—“I over E” and realized in that moment that if he acted out his emotions and anger he would likely get his 36 month sentence suspended. Even more importantly, he realized that what his children and girlfriend needed was for him to get home and be there for them. So he just kept repeating, “I over E” which helped him make the right choice. Shaking and enraged, he voluntarily walked back into the jail instead of succumbing to the violence he was feeling.
This led to a good discussion and reflection on what the outcomes would have been had he acted out in old ways and how this new thinking leads to greater freedom and self-control. It also was a natural bridge to another focus of the evening – Personal Freedom and Responsibility. I asked the men how they would know when they are free or experiencing freedom. What are their beliefs about freedom?
One guy immediately responded saying that freedom is when I don’t have any involvement with the system anymore. Others answered saying, “When I am home with my family,” and “When I get my drivers license back.” One man said, “I am free in here, I feel free inside, I choose to come back here every night.”
I helped the guys see that freedom is really being self directed; it is an internal quality not outward circumstances. One guy said that he finally learned that freedom is also following the rules and not doing whatever you want whenever you want to do it. He said, look at us, we didn’t follow the rules and here we sit with hardly any control over the smallest things in our lives.
Parenting and Fatherhood Resource Reviews
There are many books out there that offer parenting tips and advice for building paternal relationships. How do you know what the right book is for you? Throughout the year, coloradodads.com features updated resource reviews on books written for fathers, families and fatherhood practitioners.
Fathers and Early Childhood Programs
By Jay Fagan and Glen Palm
Reviewed by Rich Batten
Group Parent Education: Promoting Parent Learning and Support
By Deborah Campbell and Glen F. Palm
Reviewed by Rich Batten
The Modern Dads Handbook
By John Badalament
Reviewed by Rich Batten
December’s Featured Father
Saul Hernandez – Basketball Enthusiast – Father of Three
Each month, coloradodads.com is excited to feature both notable and every day Colorado dads. Our featured father for the month of December, Saul Hernandez, spends time with his three children by organizing pick-up basketball games, reading together and watching Broncos games. Here’s a brief snippet of Saul’s thoughts on fatherhood:
- What’s the hardest part about being a dad?
For me, it’s trying to raise my kids differently from the way I was raised.
- What would you consider to be your most inspiring moment as a dad?
There isn’t one moment. It’s inspiring to be able to watch my kids grow up and apply the things I taught them to their own lives.
A New Year Means a New Connection for Fathers and their Children
At the start of a new year, fathers can look back, reflect on and learn from their strengths, weaknesses, good times and periods of struggle from previous months. Each new year brings new opportunities for improvement. Like most fathers across the nation, Colorado dads are making it a priority in 2008 to spend more time connecting with their children. This holiday season, it is important that all dads agree to not let resolutions be something made only to break.
Dads can set specific and measurable goals to improve their relationships with their children that are easy to achieve. Instead of simply resolving to spend more time with their children fathers should try to make more concrete goals, such as devoting every Sunday to “play day” or eating dinner as family four nights a week.
Nurturing Fathers Program
Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services and John Holmberg, Psy.D., researcher with the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health at the University of Colorado, will facilitate this free, 14-week program beginning January 24 at The Medical Center of Aurora.
Moving Ahead by Leaps and Bounds
2008 Head Start Parent and Staff Conference – Sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Head Start Association, this is a training conference for parents and staff working with children and families. It will be held February 29-March 1, 2008 at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, CO.
Check out coloradodads.com to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Current offers include:
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Tickets to the Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, January 18 at the Pepsi Center.
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Free skate rentals and passes to the Boulder Ice Rink.
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:
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:
Colorado Department of Human Services
Manager, Family Strengthening Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
The Bawmann Group Contacts:
(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – Web site, advertising and media relations).
Vice President of Communications
The Bawmann Group
The Bawmann Group