Be there For Your Kids

In This Issue:

  • Celebrating Five Years of Responsible Fatherhood in Colorado
  • Be There for Your Kids and the Colorado Division of Child Support Enforcement Collaborate on New Video
  • Introducing…Colorado Community Action Association
  • Program Spotlight
  • Fatherhood in the News
  • September Featured Father
  • Highlights of Recent Family-Focused Conferences
  • Subscribe to the Latest Be There for Your Kids Public Awareness Campaign Initiatives
  • Upcoming Events

 

 

Celebrating Five Years of Responsible Fatherhood in Colorado

On October 1, 2006, Colorado was selected as one of just two promoting responsible fatherhood community access grantees in the country. Then, one year later, we launched the Be There for Your Kids public awareness campaign with much fanfare at the Colorado State Capitol. Over the past five years, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood (PRF) Initiative has seen tremendous success in working with fathers. Close to 6,000 fathers have participated in the 63 local fatherhood programs that have received funding through this grant cycle. From parenting education to case management, job readiness training to fatherhood support services, it's been an honor to provide comprehensive services to Colorado fathers.

In recognition of the outstanding work that's taken place in our state surrounding responsible fatherhood programming and public awareness, a new section has been added to the Colorado Dads website. Legacy of Success includes links to news articles, fatherhood program highlights, videos and public outreach initiatives that have occurred as a result of the PRF grant. If you'd like to add a success story of your own to this section of the site, please send an email to Maggie Spain.

The Colorado Department of Human Services is committed to helping fathers be there for their kids. The Department has applied for a new round of federal funding through the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance "Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood" grant. Should Colorado be selected as a grant recipient, the Department looks to build on the collaborations that have been established statewide over the past five years as well as develop new relationships in order to better serve fathers and communities.

 

Be There for Your Kids and the Colorado Division of Child Support Enforcement Collaborate on New Video

For many non-custodial parents, being presented with a child support order and discussing all of its parts and pieces with a county child support worker can be very overwhelming. In order to minimize confusion and ensure that parents understand everything they will need to remember throughout the life of their order, the Be There for Your Kids campaign and the Colorado Division of Child Support Enforcement have created a new video — 10 Things to Remember After Your Child Support Order is Established. This video will be distributed throughout every Colorado county child support office and local fatherhood programs. It is also now available to be viewed online!

 

Introducing…Colorado Community Action Association

The PRF Initiative was thrilled to have Josiah Masingale, interim executive director of the Colorado Community Action Association (CCAA), serve as a presenter during a recent sustainability for fatherhood programs webinar. CCAA is an excellent resource for Colorado fatherhood programs, non-profit agencies and county-based organizations.

The association was formed in the mid 1970's with the purpose of representing Colorado Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) recipients statewide. Colorado is a "waiver" state, meaning Colorado divides CSBG funding to the 64 Board of County Commissioners, using a formula based on the number of people living in poverty in a given county. Over the years, many smaller rural counties have chosen to combine resources, thereby creating the 40 CSBG local eligible entities that exist today. While many CSBG eligible entities utilize CSBG to provide direct services, others sub-grant their funds to smaller non-profit agencies. These agencies compete on an annual basis to receive CSBG funding and provide targeted services to meet needs that have been prioritized through regular community needs assessments and accomplish measurable outcomes for low-income residents of their communities. Membership in the CCAA comes with many benefits, including being listed as a 2011 Member of the CSBG Poverty Fighting Network. CCAA members also receive scholarship and training opportunities, including free or reduced rate trainings for Results Oriented Management & Accountability (ROMA), grant writing, managing federal grants and other exciting capacity-building activities; networking events with other Colorado Community Action Agencies, CSBG Entities & Subcontractors and CCAA Members; regular funding opportunities and other resources information bulletins; and having input into Colorado CSBG and Human Services strategies, activities, capacity-building trainings and media/public awareness and advocacy activities.

Today, the CCAA's Board of Directors & Membership is comprised of CSBG recipients, local businesses and individuals, local governmental agencies, local community-based organizations, statewide and local human services providers and community partners, all supporting a statewide effort to increase self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families and to provide linkages to increase collaborations, streamline services and provide quality services in a measurable and accountable manner. The ultimate outcome is alleviating poverty in Colorado.

For more information on CCAA, visit ccaa.hypersites.com. To be added to Josiah's community resources email list, send a quick message to coloradocommunityaction@gmail.com.

 

Program Spotlight — Nurturing Father's Program at the Aurora Mental Health Center — Aurora

Written by: Nancy Regalado, program administer

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

We provide three, 13-week classes over the course of one year to dads or any male caregiver of a child. Some of these dads have children with a mental health diagnosis or have personally struggled with a mental health issue themselves. We also accept any dad into the program who may be interested in developing a closer, more hands on relationship with his family. This is done in a supportive and structured group parent-child environment. The core components of our program include structuring, engaging, challenging and nurturing behaviors.

Children have the opportunity to attend a social skills class while dads are participating in the fatherhood class. At the end of the night, everyone gathers together for a small group activity. The activity always relates to the subject matter covered in class that evening.

2. Do you have any lessons learned about providing services to fathers over the past five years?

Fathers have a strong desire to connect with others for support and guidance. However, they need a safe place where this is encouraged to feel comfortable enough to do so. They often find it hard to ask for help, but when they are a part of a class or "team", they will express their needs, frustrations and successes.

We also changed the curriculum we use a bit in order to allow participants to get to know each other better. This has made it easier for the dads talk about personal issues. We have learned that dads need additional time to develop trust within a group setting.

3. Describe at typical day at the Nurturing Father's Program.

Each Thursday evening, dads begin to arrive at about 5:00 p.m. Those that bring their children serve them dinner and help get them settled in the playroom for their social skills class.

Fathers immediately begin to connect with each other while eating dinner. Some begin to review the homework from the previous week and write down additional thoughts before class starts.

I am often able to talk with each and every participant upon their arrival and all are anxious to discuss their week.

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

I was a therapist for many years before leaving the field. Change was often very slow or did not happen at all. After many years, I felt discouraged and frustrated with the system.

I became interested in the idea of fatherhood programming several years ago. Many of the moms who attended our previous support groups were discouraged that their husbands would not come with them. If they did attend, they were often detached and quiet.

As I began to oversee this program, I discovered that the men who came in to complete their intakes were eager to have someone listen to them. They desperately wanted to be a more involved parent and needed to know how. Often, they felt as though the courts and social service systems overlooked them. They were made to feel as though they were insignificant.

Class after class, week after week, I would see men change and change for the better.

  • They were more patient with their children.
  • They were more open and relaxed coming into class and if they had a tough week, they would share that with the facilitators, and the group, as well as myself.
  • Their commitment to their children and partners became more meaningful.

It has been an incredible transformation for everyone involved — the dads and the professionals who've worked with this program.

5. Share father or program success story with us.

One of our dads became a first-time dad — by accident — in his 50's. He had never married and considered himself a confirmed bachelor.

The baby, a son, arrived and because the mother had had serious mental health issues, social services placed the baby in foster care. This dad participated in our fatherhood class and successfully graduated. We did not meet the baby until class graduation. It was obvious then that this father was becoming an involved and hands-on dad. His visitation had been increased to a couple of overnights during the week and his plan was to become a full time father.

 

Fatherhood in the News

Over the last few months, the news media has focused an increased amount of coverage on fatherhood, father absence and community solutions right here in Colorado. Here is a brief synopsis of articles and broadcast stories you may have missed.

Jefferson County court supports fathers' efforts to pay support for their children

Jefferson County District Court, Division R, is what traditionally would be referred to as the nonsupport docket. This is where fathers come and most are fathers — when they are in contempt of court involving orders to pay child support.

In the clunky parlance of court speak, these men are called obligors. In common vernacular, they are called deadbeats.

Court is in session Friday mornings before Magistrate Marianne Tims. She cheerfully reminds the recalcitrant she is here every Friday and they will be, too, until they make their promised payments.

 

New program helps men be better fathers, employees

Wanted: Someone who knows how to deal with conflict, communicate effectively, be respectful and hang in when the going gets tough.

It could be a posting for a job, but it could just as well be a personal ad in search of a man who knows how to be a great dad, which explains a little about the philosophy behind a new job training program starting Monday at the Center on Fathering in Colorado Springs. Called "Fathers as Providers," the program is designed to help unemployed and low-income dads beef up their job and job-hunting skills, get them into work that is above an entry-level position, and boost them up the career ladder.

 

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.

 

September Featured Father — Mark Donaldson

September is National Grandparents Month. Aurora resident and a father of three children and one grandchild, Mark Donaldson, is the most recent father/grandfather featured on the Colorado Dads website. Mark strives to be a positive, good dad for his children. He is also a past participant in the Touch By An Angel fatherhood program.

Describe your funniest moment as a dad.

It's been fun to watch Anthony try, and some times fail, at new things in life. When he laughs, I laugh, too!

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

Never stop being positive.

 

Highlights of Recent Family-Focused Conferences

Weaving a Healing Voice, Unraveling the Trauma of Domestic Violence

On Friday, September 16th, two dozen family service providers and fatherhood practitioners joined the Administration for Children and Families, Region VIII and the Office of Women's Health at the Denver Indian Family Resource Center for the Weaving the Healing Voice Conference. During the conference, attendees were presented with a historical context of violence against native men and women; myths and facts about domestic violence in Indian Country; how domestic violence is viewed within native culture; and participated in a panel discussion with elders discussing the realities of domestic violence in Indian Country.

Connecting the Dots 2: Engaging Men as Allies in Gender Violence Prevention

Close to 75 people participated in the second annual Connecting the Dots 2 conference in Greeley on September 27th. The conference opened with a special presentation from Doug Gertner, Ph.D., of the National Organization of Men Against Sexism, regarding theories of masculinity and ways to link men's movements together. Throughout the rest of the day, presentations and discussions were had about utilizing the community accountability model within social service organizations, practical applications of the community accountability model and ways to build awareness of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Lee Girodano, M.Ed., of Men Stopping Violence, led the keynote presentation for the conference on principles and strategies for engaging men in preventing gender violence. A resource tool-kit was also distributed among conference attendees.

Following the Connecting the Dots 2 conference, the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence campaign, Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Administration for Children and Families, Region VIII, and the Office of Women's Health hosted a screening of a new documentary — The Bro Code — at the University of Northern Colorado.

The activities that took place on September 27th served as an excellent introduction to National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the importance of building community collaborations between organizations of all sizes.

 

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

Absent Documentary Screening
September 29, 2011
Two screening opportunities: 6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
The Abbey Theatre, Durango

Absent is a groundbreaking documentary from critically acclaimed director Justin Hunt that showcases the impact of father absence around the world. The film examines the theory that disengaged fathers are leaving a mark that will forever reshape the future of our planet. Director Justin Hunt will participate in a question and answer session following each screening in Durango. Tickets are still on sale for just $10. This screening event should not be missed!

Colorado Men Making a Difference

Join men and boys across the state of Colorado in taking a stand to end domestic violence. Together Colorado men can make a difference. How do you show you care? Visit the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence's new Facebook page throughout the month of October (National Domestic Violence Awareness Month) to tell others how you show the people in your life that you care about them. Posters are also available to be downloaded and distributed throughout the state so that as many people as possible can "show they care".


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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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 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