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May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Connecticut's Fatherhood Matters Initiative

In a new issue of Common Ground, the online newspaper of the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors, author Douglas Howard highlights the Connecticut Department of Children and Families' (DCF's) Fatherhood Matters Initiative.

In 2007, statewide data suggested that fathers, compared to mothers, are statistically less likely to have their needs assessed and met when their families are receiving child welfare services. DCF launched the Fatherhood Matters Initiative as an integral part of its Program Improvement Plan—a Federal requirement to improve child welfare services in areas identified by the State's Child and Family Services Review. Howard identifies several relevant areas in case practice guiding the fatherhood work, including assessing the needs and strengths of fathers within a holistic assessment of family functioning and establishing Fatherhood Engagement Leadership Teams in regional offices to support the initiative. Several participating fathers have responded positively, volunteering to partner with DCF to plan trainings.

In addition to fatherhood engagement, this issue of Common Ground includes articles about:

  • The New England Youth Coalition's Sibling Bill of Rights
  • Adoption Rhode Island's use of social media for recruitment and support
  • Trauma-informed safety planning

Common Ground is available on the Judge Baker Children Center, Harvard University, website:  (4 MB)