Media Contact
Evan Dreyer
Press Secretary to Gov. Ritter
303-866-6324
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808

September 27, 2007

Colorado Department Of Human Services Launches Public Awareness Campaign To Promote Responsible Fatherhood

DENVER – October 1, 2007 – Today, Governor Bill Ritter announced the launch of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ “Be There for Your Kids” public awareness campaign, which targets Colorado’s fathers and is designed to promote responsible fatherhood across the State.

The Governor explained that Colorado was the only state and one of two locations in the country – including Washington D.C.- to be awarded a five-year, $10 million federal grant with the focus and intent of improving paternal relationships and parenting. The first year’s grant funding has now been appropriated and nearly $1.1 million has been distributed to 36 community and faith-based organizations throughout the State to pay directly for services that will impact the lives of Colorado’s fathers and their children. The public awareness campaign includes a new Web site, coloradodads.com, which is an all-encompassing resource for dads and families, as well as statewide television advertising and community outreach.

“Today, nearly 25 million children do not live with their fathers and more than one-third of these children will not see their fathers at all during the course of a year,” explained Governor Ritter. “Research shows that children who grow up without responsible fathers are significantly more likely to experience poverty, perform poorly in school and/or engage in criminal activity. There is no doubt about the importance of fathers in the lives of their children.”

According to Governor Ritter, the services and programs offered under the grant target fathers of children who are at risk of negative outcomes due to limited father involvement and/or limited economic support. These include dads who are low-income, have children with disabilities, are incarcerated as well as teenage fathers, single custodial fathers and non-residential fathers.

“Fatherhood programs across the state give dads a voice,” explained Sam Rascon, former participant in Grand Junction’s Hilltop Community Resources’ young dads program and current director of the program. “The program helped me process my thoughts and understand the issue of co-parenting as I struggled to attain custody of my son. The skills I learned changed my life, which is why I’m now working directly with fathers who are struggling with many of the issues I once faced.”

“Many fathers throughout Colorado are unaware that there are programs available to help them with the day-to-day and bigger picture parenting and family issues that they may face,” explained Karen Beye, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services which is spearheading the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative.  “That’s why this public awareness campaign is vital in getting the word out about programs available for fathers and families.”

“At the end of the day, our future is only as strong as our children,” said Governor Ritter.  “Ultimately, the goal of this initiative is to strengthen Colorado’s families by providing dads and families with the tools needed to BE THERE for our kids”

For more information or for fatherhood and family resources and support, please visit www.coloradodads.com or call 1-877-695-7996(English) or 1-866-527-3264(Spanish).