Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Nominations Open for the 2011 Be There for Your Kids Awards
  • Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative Participates in National Domestic Violence Site Exchange
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood and Child Support — Partnership Developments
  • March Featured Father
  • Families First Support Line — A Resource for Fathers and Fatherhood Practitioners
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

Nominations Open for the 2011 Be There for Your
Kids Awards

Honoring extraordinary Colorado fathers, programs and practitioners

Do you know of a father who has gone above and beyond to be involved in his children's lives? Or a fatherhood program that has made a lasting impact on the community it serves? Their efforts can now be recognized through the 2011 Be There for Your Kids Awards. These annual awards, created by the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative and the Colorado Fatherhood Council, recognize and reward outstanding individuals and program service in healthy father involvement with children, families and communities throughout Colorado. Nominations for the 2011 awards are now being accepted within the following 10 categories:

  1. Be There For Your Kids Father of the Year
  2. Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner Award
  3. Policymaker or Advocate of the Year
  4. Colorado Fatherhood Council Member of the Year
  5. Fatherhood Program, Coalition or Agency of the Year
  6. Child Welfare Caseworker of the Year
  7. Child Support Employee of the Year
  8. County Child Welfare Department of the Year
  9. County Child Support Enforcement Department of the Year
  10. Other: Workplace of the Year, Media Representative of the Year, Visionary of the Year, Collaborator, etc. Coloradans are encouraged to nominate other organizations/individuals that do not fit any of the designated categories.

Individuals and programs from across the state that demonstrate excellence, consistency, creativity and leadership in serving fathers or in being a father are eligible to receive a Be There for Your Kids Award. The Child Welfare and Child Support Enforcement categories illustrate our commitment to improving father engagement in human services agencies. Awards will be made based on how well the nominee meets the criteria and serves to promote and/or support fatherhood in Colorado.

Winners of the Be There for Your Kids Awards will be recognized during several community events the week of Father's Day 2011. Nominations must be submitted by May 16, 2011.

 

Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative Participates in National Domestic Violence Site Exchange

On March 22-23, the PRF Initiative was selected by the federal Office of Family Assistance to host a national site exchange on fatherhood and domestic violence collaborations. Colorado was chosen for this particular exchange because of the model set forth in our initial grant application and the many partnerships that have been established among community access funded programs and local domestic violence service providers over the past four and a half years.

Representatives from fatherhood programs and domestic violence service providers in West Virginia, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Denver attended this site exchange. Discussions focused on the growth of fatherhood and domestic violence partnerships in Colorado, barriers plus small and large successes, building awareness, protocols for data management and a panel discussion with fatherhood practitioners and their domestic violence service provider partners. Attendees also visited a fatherhood class hosted by Goodwill Industries to gain further insight into how domestic violence is addressed with fathers in the state.

“Many ideas were brought forth during this site exchange that will make fatherhood programming even more effective nationally,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist. “It was an honor for our state to have been selected as a host site due to our nationally recognized protocols and efforts in curbing domestic violence whenever it becomes recognized in a family.”

 

 

Program Spotlight — Family First, Hilltop Community Resources, Grand Junction, Colorado

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

Programming:  Family First is a parenting education and support program that helps families with young children be the best they can be.  The program serves both young moms and dads.  Program staff instruct parents in their homes, provide case management as well as weekly education and support groups. Our staff assist families in accessing the community services they need. The result of these services is a better relationship between parent and child.  Family First serves more than 135 families each year with a current caseload of 115 at one time. 

Family First offers three services to Mesa County's at-risk families with young children:

  • Home visitation with a parenting curriculum;
  • Weekly education and support groups; and
  • Case management

Groups offered:

  • Moms Weekly Group
  • R5 Young Parent Group
  • Dads Weekly Group
  • Incarcerated Dads Group
  • Training Camp for New Dads
  • Parenting Education and Support Group

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

The goals of Family First are:

  1. To increase high school education and secondary education of teen parents. 83 percent of Family First participants are either in school or have completed school, which is higher than the national average of 66 percent.
  2. To decrease the incidence of child abuse among participants by increasing parental empathy and parenting skills. No Family First participants have had a confirmed child abuse report since 2001 (when we began tracking).
  3. To increase self-sufficiency of participants by helping them maintain employment, manage money and improve their life skills. Family First participants are more likely to earn more money and increase their earnings than a compared population of Colorado Works participants.

Ultimately our goal is to achieve these outcomes with as many fathers as possible.

3. Describe a typical day at Family First.

A typical day in the fatherhood program starts at 8 a.m. with coffee and look at my, Dartanin Mitchell, program administrator, calendar to see what my day will look like. I return any missed calls or emails before completing prep work for appointments or Growing Great Kids home visits. My case management home visit preparation consists of mainly reviewing lesson plans and gathering resources or information that can help the parents I serve such as information on housing resources, employment, food resources as well as issues with child care, Child Protection, conflict resolution, co-parenting and more.

I then see my clients and either give a Growing Great Kids lesson or review their service plan. I average about six phone calls a day from clients, family members of clients, potential clients and service providers who are seeking information or referring someone to the dads program.

Once a month, I facilitate a training camp for new dads, which is designed to equip a father for the first year of his child's life. Training camp covers topic such as postpartum depression, child abuse prevention, hands-on-care for your baby and much more.

I also do presentations about Family First, which entails giving information on what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Most of our presentations are at schools located in Mesa County to inform teachers and parents. I also assist in our fatherhood support/education group that covers a wide range of parenting issues.

Family First hosts events for our parents at least once a quarter, which I attend and help prepare for as needed.  We have a chili cook-off, Christmas Party, Halloween Party, summer picnic, graduation and participate in community events and parades.

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

The best part about working with fathers and families is seeing them succeed. There is a moment when working with clients that you can see that they “get it”, that they understand why their life is the way it is. You see that they have found the tools they need to make the changes that they want to make. That's when you know you have done your job.

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

There was a dad who had his children removed from his home by Child Protective Services due to child abuse from the children's mother. This dad found it hard to continue without his children. He felt as though he was nothing. He thought about giving up because the pain was too much to bear. 

This particular father was referred to the Family First fatherhood program by his judge. He was skeptical about coming at first, as he didn't think that he would be able to find help. Once this father started to attend our weekly meetings he saw that he was not alone. He realized that the fatherhood group was a place where he could talk about his issues and get helpful feedback and support. Most of all, he found a new beginning. He found the support he needed to get his children back and raise them in a healthy, loving and abuse-free environment.

 

Fatherhood and Child Support — Partnership Developments

For the past two years, the PRF Initiative has worked closely with the Colorado Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program to improve fatherhood engagement among technicians, supervisors and other CSE employees.

Last fall, we announced the release of the Engaging Colorado Fathers in the Child Support System informational video, which was distributed to community access funded programs at the annual Fatherhood Training Academy. After receiving feedback from fatherhood programs, slight modifications to the video's content have been made and it is now available for use by fathers, practitioners and county and state employees. Click here to watch the full Engaging Colorado Fathers in the Child Support System video. You can also contact Dan Welch if you'd like to have your own copy of this video.

The PRF Initiative and CSE Program are also excited to announce the official launch of the Child Support Incentive Program website. Modeled after the Child Welfare caseworker site that launched in May 2010, this site provides CSE employees with fatherhood engagement tips to use in their daily practice, an online fatherhood program referral tool, links to Be There for Your Kids electronic newsletters, Father Friendly Agency Check Ups and an forum to share agency news. After setting up an account on the site, users can earn points by reviewing and utilizing posted resources.

This website is open to Colorado CSE employees only. Fatherhood programs are encouraged to talk with the CSE employees in their communities about the resources available on the site. Click here to learn more. 

 

 

March Featured Father — Matt Keil

Denver resident Matt Keil is the most recent father featured on the Colorado Dads website. An Iraq veteran, Matt was seriously injured while fighting for our country a little more than four years ago. Today, after a long journey of faith and love, Matt and his wife Tracy are the parents of twins — Matt and Faith. Matt can't wait to teach his children about life and love and wonders what they, in turn, will teach him some day.

What is the hardest part about being a dad?

The hardest part about being a dad for me is being a disabled dad. It's hard because I can't pick up the kids when they are crying - I have to have someone help me with almost everything. When they get bigger they will be able to climb up into my lap, but right now they are four months old and I need someone to help me with a lot of things.

I made a device for my hand recently that holds a bottle so that I can feed the kids. I love that time together with them, they just look at me and I look at them. I love them so much.

What is the most important piece of advice you've received about fatherhood?

That 90 percent of being a good dad is just being there, being present in their lives.

 

Families First Support Line — A Resource for Fathers and Fatherhood Practitioners

The Family Support Line is the Fatherhood Helpline for the Be There for Your Kids campaign. This 'warm line' accepts English and Spanish-speaking callers from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily and has been helping parents, primary caregivers and professionals in Colorado since 1989. Callers are welcomed with compassionate listening, practical answers and information on all aspects of family life and child development. And if a referral is in order, a statewide database provides a myriad of options to benefit professionals as well as parents.

Callers can ask about becoming more actively involved in their child's education, what behaviors are typical for specific ages, finding time for themselves as a single parent, managing the trials and tribulations of living with teens or toddlers, staying cool in the face of marital and family discord and so much more.

Fathers account for 20 percent of all calls to the Families First Support Line. The majority of calls focus on behavior and discipline, divorce and step parenting and parenting classes and legal issues. One dad called nightly for about 4 months while going through a divorce, his wife moving out, court appointments to secure custody, closing the family home and finally relocating with his children to a smaller home. Another dad needed to understand how to legally grant medical decision-making power to his in-laws, who cared for his children each day while he was at work. In both cases, the Family Support Line was able to be there both emotionally and practically with compassionate listening and community resources.

The Family Support Line is a service of Families First, a private, non-sectarian, non-profit agency devoted to empowering parents, nurturing children and strengthening families to end the cycle of child abuse and neglect. Families First is a partner of the Colorado Parent Information & Resource Center, a member of the National Family Support Roundtable and a founding member of the Colorado chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America serving as the answer line for 1-800-CHILDREN in Colorado. With 25 years of experience treating children who have been abused or neglected and working with parents to provide education and support, the organization brings a high level of credibility to all that they do to help families in Colorado.

So if your client is a father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, or another type of caregiver, and needs someone to listen, some information or a community referral and doesn't know where to turn — all it takes is a phone call!

FAMILY SUPPORT LINE, 10 A.M. - 10 P.M.  Daily
Statewide, toll-free: 1-877-695-7996 or 1-800-CHILDREN

And for callers who speak only Spanish:
CONSEJOS PARA FAMILIAS, 8 A.M. - 6 P.M.   Monday - Friday
Statewide, toll-free: 1-866-LAS-FAMILIAS (1-866-527-3264)

 

Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives

Our public awareness campaign strives to get the message of responsible fatherhood out to local communities in a variety of ways.

The Fastbreak for Fathers blog, written by fatherhood and family specialist Dan Welch, is updated on a regular basis. Become a subscriber of the blog and you will receive automatic email announcements when it is updated.

The Colorado Dads Watercooler Blog — filled with submissions from fathers and fatherhood practitioners — also includes a new entry. Check out Tyler Osterhaus', family focus prevention programs manager for the Weld County Department of Human Services, thoughts on fathers, daughters and Valentine's Day. Interested in submitting some of your own thoughts to this blog? Contact Maggie Spain to learn more.

Check out the Be There for Your Kids Facebook page for all things related to fatherhood. We encourage you to “Like” this page and comment on fatherhood news articles and notes as we increase our number of followers. Be sure to also check out our YouTube channel for the latest campaign videos. 

 

Upcoming Events

Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Webinars

2nd Tuesday of each month
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Throughout fiscal year 2011 the Colorado PRF Initiative will host a series of Webinars aimed at providing technical assistance to agencies and programs conducting fatherhood work across the state. Community access program grantees are highly encouraged to attend.

Child Abuse Prevention Month — April 2011

State figures show that there were more than 11,000 cases of child abuse or neglect in Colorado in 2009. Every day children across Colorado suffer from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse or neglect. In support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April, we encourage Colorado dads and fatherhood practitioners to join together in learning how to prevent child abuse and help those children who may already be suffering. All Coloradans, especially dads, play an important role in keeping our children safe.

A variety of community and advocacy events will take place in April in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, ranging from Prevent Child Abuse Colorado's Pinwheels for Prevention statewide campaign to the Kempe Center's Child Abuse Awareness Lighting Event on March 31st. Visit the Colorado Dads website to learn more about child abuse prevention activities taking place in your communities.

Alex's 1K Run/Walk

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Broomfield Commons Park, Broomfield

Alex's 1K Run/Walk is in memory of Alex Welch. Alex passed away on April 8, 2010 of meningococcal sepsis when he was just 20 years old. He moved to Broomfield when he was five years-old and lived a life with family and many friends. After graduating from Broomfield High he enrolled at Metropolitan State College, where he studied economics and Spanish. His passion was helping others in need and his life revolved around his family and friends, travel and faith. Alex was a tremendous friend to many, a caring, humble person and the best son and brother imaginable. He is survived by his parents, Dan, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, and Mari, and his sister Elise Welch.  

Run the free race as an individual or put together a team of four representing your school, company, club, extended family or group of friends.

 

Regional Fatherhood Forums

Northern Colorado Dads Fatherhood Forum
Held on various days throughout the month. For more information, contact Tyler Osterhaus, Family Focus Program Manager, Weld County Department of Social Services, Family Focused Prevention Unit at 970.352.1551 X622.

Arkansas River Area Fatherhood Team
A meeting on the first Wednesday of every month in Pueblo or Cañon City for lunch, encouragement and sharing ideas related to working with fathers.
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 Pinon 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.

 

Check out coloradodads.com to register for free or low-cost opportunities for dads to connect with their kids. Current offers include:

. . .

Text DADS or PADRE to 72727 to win free tickets to a Colorado Rockies game this spring!

Free passes to JumpStreet Indoor Trampoline Park.

Free INVESCO Field tours for two.

Free admission to the Denver Children's Museum.

A free gift basket from HappyBabyFood.com.

. . .


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 website, 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)

Trained volunteers from Families First staff this line.

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 Contacts:

Dan Welch
Fatherhood Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.3808
Email

Mary Roberto
Manager, Program Development and System Innovation Section
Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division
303.866.2641
Email

The Bawmann Group Contacts:

(regarding the public awareness campaign materials – website, advertising and media relations)

Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790
Email