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Dec/Jan 2006Vol. 6, No. 10Increasing Alaskan Native Fathers' Positive Involvement

Native Alaskan fathers involved with the child welfare system in Anchorage have been able to strengthen their relationships with their children and improve their parenting skills as a result of a program developed by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC). Based on interviews with Native Alaskan fathers who identified parenting needs, CITC staff developed the Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project. The project includes:

  • A culturally relevant 10-week parenting course for fathers that culminates in a graduation
  • A peer support group for single fathers
  • A 12-week anger management course
  • Services that include information, referral, and transportation
  • Home-based case management services
  • Advocacy by staff on behalf of the fathers they serve
  • Collaboration with other agencies

As a group, Native Alaskan fathers face a number of challenges that often make it difficult for them to parent effectively, and their children are disproportionately overrepresented in the child welfare system. Many were abused as children and grew up in the foster care system and in government boarding schools, leaving them with few models of healthy family relationships. One of the goals of the Father Involvement Enhancement Project is to help fathers learn to connect with their children and with the mothers of their children.

While preliminary evaluation data are not available, program staff at the Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project, as well as the fathers themselves, report success with the program. In addition, the program has established a positive and visible presence in the community. Much of the success is attributed to the initial involvement of fathers in the program's development and the fact that the case manager is a single father and an American Indian.

For more information on this program, contact:

Sylvia Berg
Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.
3600 San Jeronimo Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907.793.3600

Note: The Healthy Homes Father Involvement Enhancement Project was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1705, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: 2002C2: Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Family Resource and Support Programs. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.