Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

May 28, 2008

Father's Day - The Best Time to Celebrate Your Dad

In the United States, the third Sunday of every June is a day for celebrating and honoring fatherhood. June 15, 2008 will mark the 99th annual Father’s Day. As this special day approaches, now is the perfect time to celebrate responsible fatherhood and healthy father/child relationships in Colorado.

With 42 programs statewide, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is working with dads on how they can put their children first and become the best father they can be. These programs target fathers of children who are at risk of negative outcomes due to limited father involvement and limited economic support.

Colorado fathers are becoming more engaged in the lives of their children in a variety of ways:
  • In Denver, fathers of children with disabilities are learning how to be involved in their children’s lives through one-on-one counseling, group mentoring and skills training.
  • In Jefferson County, non-custodial fathers are building more stable lives for their children and learning how they can become the father their child needs, even if they haven’t been that person in the past.
  • In Cortez, fathers who have struggled in the past are building stronger relationships with their children through parenting classes and recreational activities – including white water rafting!
  • Latino dads in Adams, Boulder and Weld Counties are learning how to be their family and child’s best advocate through a program called Los Padres.
  • In Colorado Springs, incarcerated dads are learning how to rebuild relationships with their children as they transition back to their community.
  • In Sterling, community organizations are coming together to help dads navigate and understand the child support system.
The importance of a father’s involvement in the life of his child cannot be overlooked. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse:
  • About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father's home.
  • Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
  • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
  • Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that a father’s love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
“Everyday as fathers we struggle to find our way. There’s no guidebook on how to be a great dad, what lessons to teach our kids, how to work through a painful divorce or how to balance a hectic work schedule,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Our programs strive to give Colorado dads tools they can utilize when they feel uncertain. Being a father means learning and growing from our mistakes and successes and using that knowledge to become a better man and a better parent.”

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.