May 2002Vol. 3, No. 4Supporting Responsible Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland
A Workshop on Fathers and the Role of Men in Children's Lives was presented at the recent 7th National Child Welfare conference sponsored by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Randall Turner, Vice President of the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), highlighted the work of the NFI and its efforts to encourage responsible fatherhood on a national level. NFI's goal is to stimulate a broad-based movement to restore fatherhood as a national priority. NFI's activities focus on raising public awareness and promoting responsible fatherhood initiatives at the State and local levels.
In 1999, Joe Jones established the Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development (CFWD). He is the President/CEO of CFWD and a national leader in programming for men and fathers. CFWD programs and services include:
- Responsible Fatherhood: This program, which has served more than 450 men, includes a strong emphasis on case management, life skills development, and parenting education. The program seeks to involve the male counterparts of Healthy Start mothers in the delivery of pre- and postnatal health care services with the goal of reducing infant mortality.
- 50/50 Parenting: This program gives support to never-married parents, whether or not they are still a couple, in working together for the health and well-being of their children.
- Workforce Development: Based on a model developed by the East Harlem Employment Service STRIVE Baltimore is an intensive three-week job training and placement service. STRIVE blends self-examination, critical thinking, relationship building, affirmation, learning, and teaching with practical skill development and two-year post graduation monitoring. Since the program began, 75 percent of STRIVE Baltimore participants have graduated, and 79 percent have maintained employment. Through Strive Baltimore, more than 300 clients have found jobs with area companies.
One effort discussed at the workshop was the successful three-week job readiness program in Baltimore, Maryland, for fathers. Jones highlighted the program that focuses on enhancing job interviewing skills for fathers and provides assistance in finding employment. The workshop also included a recent graduate of the three-week program who discussed his direct experience with CFWD.
Recognizing that fathers play an important role in the lives of their children such as nurturer, mentor, disciplinarian, moral instructor, and skills coach, among other roles, President Bush in his 2003 budget has proposed $20 million to fund a new Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriages program. This program would award grants to faith-based and community organizations to help noncustodial fathers become and stay involved with their children.
National Fatherhood Initiative
101 Lake Forest Blvd, Suite 360
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Joseph T. Jones
Center for Fathers, Families, and Workforce Development
3002 Druid Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21215
See these following related articles in these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Dads Make a Difference" (July/August 2001)
- "Institute Focuses on Latino Fathers" (July 2000)