Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • What's New on the Colorado Dads Website
  • Engaging Colorado Fathers in the Child Welfare System — Weld County
  • Program Spotlight
  • Connect with Be There for Your Kids on Facebook!
  • July Featured Father
  • Responsible Fatherhood Nationwide  
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

What's New on the Colorado Dads Website

With versions in both English and Spanish, the Colorado Dads website continues to serve as an all-encompassing resource for fathers, fatherhood practitioners and parent educators. Because the site is updated almost every day, you may have missed some of our most recent updates.

Service Provider Resources

The password protected service provider section of the Colorado Dads site is a forum-based portal just for fatherhood and family service practitioners. Here, you will find the minutes from previous Colorado Fatherhood Council meetings, resources on messaging that resonates with men, handouts from previous fatherhood training academy sessions and discussions surrounding outreach to different types of fathers.

Click here to login to the Service Provider site or create your own account.

Healthy Relationships

Parenting can look very different depending on your children’s age or your life circumstances. Looking for activities to participate in with your pre-schooler or how to help your teenager who is trying out for a varsity sports team? Or, are you helping a father navigate a Child Support or Child Welfare case? Check out the Healthy Relationships section of the Colorado Dads website for a wealth of resources.



Fatherhood in the News 

With Father’s Day taking place last month, the news media focused an increased amount of coverage on fatherhood, father absence, fatherhood programs and available resources in Colorado. Here is a brief synopsis of articles and broadcast stories you may have missed.

Child welfare system working to get more dads into the equation of safe homes

Richard Jama had been searching for his daughter for weeks when he discovered she was living with strangers, foster parents chosen for her by child welfare workers.

When the social workers took the little girl, who had been abused by her mother's boyfriend, they asked the child's mother where the father was.

"She said I had gone back to Africa," the Liberian immigrant said.

In fact, Jama hadn't gone anywhere — and he was still paying child support.

Foster dad wins Father of the Year award

Jim Becker has made fatherhood his life’s work.

In addition to raising his own children, Becker has raised several foster kids as well as his wife’s children from a previous relationship. In total, he’s raised 18, with 13 under the care of he and his wife, Christal, today.

Classes help men, women become better parents

Lupe Gutierrez thinks the fatherhood classes offered by the Prowers County Department of Social Services "are a pretty cool deal," he said.

Gutierrez said he became acquainted with the program when he was going through a divorce and he wanted to be a better father when he saw his children.

He met Anthony LaTour with the Fatherhood Program and took 15 free classes to learn how to be a better parent.

The classes are an opportunity for people who would like to learn how to handle issues differently than they may have in the past, he said.

ProDads program in Colorado Springs teaches young men to be good fathers

Statistics indicate that El Paso County has the highest number of shaken baby deaths in the state. The 13-week ProDads program at The Center on Fathering in Colorado Springs teaches young men how to be nurturing fathers. It is also designed to prevent shaken baby deaths and child abuse.

Sterling man wins ‘fatherhood’ award

Father’s Day is a time set aside to honor the men in our lives who we call "dad." This year Tom Westfall, Sterling resident and father of two, will be awarded the especially high Father’s Day honor of being selected the Be There for Your Kids Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner of the Year.

The Outstanding Fatherhood Practitioner of the Year is awarded to someone in the state who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of fatherhood practice in their community.

 

Engaging Colorado Fathers in the Child Welfare System — Weld County

Written by Tyler Osterhaus, Family Focused Prevention Programs Manager

The Weld County Department of Human Services was recently honored with the distinction of receiving the 2011 Child Welfare Department of the Year Award from the Colorado Fatherhood Council and the Be There For Your Kids campaign for its father-friendly work. Father absence is one of our nation’s greatest current crises. Recent studies show that close to 25 million American kids are growing up without a father-figure in their lives. Kids with healthy, involved fathers are more likely to thrive in all areas of life and are less likely to become involved in risky behaviors.

When a child enters the Child Welfare system he or she is even more at-risk for negative outcomes. Father engagement in Child Welfare has been a hot topic for some time now and Weld County has made it a priority to reach out to fathers in the Child Welfare system and increase support to both fathers and the paternal side of families.

During the last year, two exciting and cutting-edge fatherhood programs have been created within our Child Welfare System. The “Parents 4 Ever” program is a collaborative effort between Child Welfare, Probation, Adult Drug Court and the Building Healthy Marriages program that seeks to increase interpersonal relationships and enhance co-parenting skills within the population of fathers who have lost custody of their children due to issues of abuse and neglect. The “Caring Dads” program works specifically with fathers who have child abuse and/or domestic violence charges to provide specialized parenting skills that promote new concepts of establishing empathy in relationships and taking full accountability for the damage they have brought into their children’s lives.

We have seen some great success with our initial efforts in both of these programs. New and innovative ways of reaching and serving fathers will continue to be explored throughout the department. On behalf of the Weld County Child Welfare Division, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all of our local partners who have helped make our efforts with fathers here so successful.

 

Program Spotlight — Lowry Family Center Project Proud Fatherhood Program — Denver

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

The Project Proud Fatherhood Program (PPFP) provides a variety of services to fathers. In continuing the vision of our late director, Kathy Hill Young, PPFP provides supervised visitation, courtroom advocacy, systems navigation, job search/referral, job readiness training, fatherhood/parenting classes, community events, one-on-one advocacy/coaching and total family support through the Lowry Family Center’s in-house wrap-around services.

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

PPFP continues to achieve by being a beacon of light to so many men. Ultimately, we are doing exactly what we set out to do by serving men in many ways. Our work is to ‘strengthen the entire family’ which is our agency mission. We can only hope to grow in our ability and capacity to do this work as the years go by.

3. Describe a typical day at the Project Proud Fatherhood Program.

There is no typical day. For example, while working on answering these questions, I, Troy Grimes, program administrator, have also taken a call from a father who just completed a psychological evaluation and wanted me to know as he is in the process of regaining custody of his children. The following also took place within the last few minutes: I spoke with two DHS case managers who were doing follow-up visits on fathers we serve. Plus, a dad who comes in while he is currently jobless to volunteer and do any filing, cleaning or small volunteer jobs we may have for him stopped by my office to say hello. So, this may not sound typical to others, but it is an actual account of this particular moment with the PPFP.

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

The best part about working with fathers and families is that we actually work together. So many of our families have had negative experience after negative experience in regards to working with other ‘helping’ agencies, but we feel that our goal of providing strengths-based services sets us apart. We meet the father/family where they are in order to go where both they and we feel they should be. Working together makes all the difference. It is a lot more enjoyable to work with someone rather than for them or against them.

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

Our biggest success to date is that we are still in existence! Fatherhood is the pillar that we can rebuild families upon. PPFP aids in that rebuilding every day our doors are open. From every dad who receives a one hour visit, to the dad who reaches 18 months of sobriety and regains custody of his kids, to the foster dad who has had more than 28 kids (mostly males) in his home and hails our workshop as one of the most important dates he ever made, all are successes in our eyes. We cherish the opportunity to do our part!

 

Connect with Be There for Your Kids on Facebook!

Connecting with the Be There for Your Kids campaign on Facebook is the best way to stay up-to-date on the latest fatherhood happenings in Colorado. New content — fatherhood news stories, links to resources posted on the Colorado Dads website, fatherhood program activities and other public awareness campaign initiatives — is added to the page several times a day.

Take a moment to learn more by “Liking” us today! Doing so just might help you win a special offer for you and your child.

 

 

July Featured Father — Scott Lyons



Lakewood resident and father of one, Scott Lyons, is the most recent dad featured on the Colorado Dads website. Scott enjoys helping his daughter with Westernaires practice, teaching her how to play soccer and being an active role model for her as she grows up. He is also a former participant in the Jefferson County Fatherhood Program.

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

Enjoy it. Children grow up fast and it is important to make the most out of every moment.

What would you hope that your child would say about you if asked what kind of a dad she has?

I hope McKennah would say that I'm a fun dad who teaches her a lot of things. That I treat her fairly and am preparing her well for adulthood. I hope she would say that I am someone she can rely on.

 

Responsible Fatherhood Nationwide

Life’s a Jungle, Hang with Dad for a Day!



The Sixth Annual Men in the Mix “Life’s a Jungle, Hang with Dad for a Day” Event, co-sponsored by the Empowering Dads Program, was held on June 11, 2011 at Friendship Hall in the Montrose County Fairgrounds. There, a crowd of more than 800 participants took in more than 20 interactive booths and activities that were provided for fathers and their families. This yearly event is held in conjunction with Father’s Day to bring attention to the invaluable role that fathers play in the healthy development of their children. While being nourished by refreshments, introduced to the 2011 Student Essay Contest winners and listening to live on-stage music, participants had a variety of interesting distractions to consider — there was the thought-provoking film, The Evolution of Dad or the chill-provoking plunge in a 300 gallon dunk tank. Throughout the four-hour event dads of all definitions were caught in the act of being informed about connecting with their kids while having fun with them at the same time.

Supported by more than 100 volunteers, Empowering Dads and the 2011 Men in the Mix planning committee believe they achieved their objectives of assisting fathers in establishing positive, responsible and nurturing relationships with their children and families and providing educational opportunities to fathers and families in a fun and interactive environment. This achievement of objectives was evidenced by an extremely positive community response, word of mouth comments, newspaper coverage, testimonies from the kids themselves and feedback from booth sponsors who asked to be contacted again next year. Seeing dads and their kids interacting with other families in a venue that strongly encouraged the theme of good parenting was something of an unusual sight for a gathering of men. It was a sight the program hopes to see again.

 

National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers in the Child Welfare System Releases New Tool Kits

The National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers in the Child Welfare System (QIC NRF) is a collaborative effort between the American Humane Association, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and the National Fatherhood Initiative. Through the funding of fatherhood and Child Welfare agencies and a variety of dissemination activities, the QIC NRF seeks to research the impact of non-resident father involvement on Child Welfare outcomes. The QIC NRF just released six tool kits for fathers to utilize as they navigate a Child Protection case. The tool kits include:

  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • How to work with your lawyer
  • Your role in court
  • Your role outside court
  • When you owe child support 
  • If you are or have been in prison
 

The Dad Talk Blog

Last month, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse launched a revamped website to coincide with President Obama’s Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families Initiative. A key component of this new site is the Dad Talk blog. Here, representatives from different governmental agencies discuss ways they are working with dads to help them become more involved in their children’s lives and fathers across the country share their own insights.

 

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.

 

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 and Vimeo channels 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. Stay tuned for an announcement of the August Webinar topic.

 

Annual North American Council on Adoptable Children Conference
August 4 – 6, 2011
Denver Marriott Tech Center

Each year, new and exciting sessions are incorporated into the comprehensive NACAC conference. This educational event covers almost every adoption-related topic imaginable — with more than 80 sessions about post-adoption services, therapeutic techniques, parenting children with challenges, recruitment and pre-adoption issues, international/infant adoption, public policy and more.

 

Regional Fatherhood Forums

Northern Colorado Dads Fatherhood Forum
Held on various days throughout the month. For more information, contact Tyler Osterhaus, Family Focus Prevention Programs Manager, Weld County Department of Human 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.

Northeast Fatherhood Forum
Time and dates to be determined. For more information, contact Jackie Reynolds from Rural Solutions at 970.526.3216.

 

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

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Text DADS or PADRE to 72727 to win a white water rafting trip for two along Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River.

Free passes to the Apex Recreation Center in Arvada.

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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 and Family Specialist
Colorado Department of Human Services
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