Growing Responsible Fathers program to provide comprehensive services to dads

iStock_000007275271MediumThe Healthy Start Coalition was awarded a five-year grant from the Administration for Children & Families to provide comprehensive fatherhood services to dads in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

The Coalition’s “Growing Responsible Fathers” program will strengthen and expand responsible fatherhood, employment, housing, health care, mentoring and recidivism reduction services through case management, referrals and group classes.

The Coalition established fatherhood as a priority in 2009-2014 Service Delivery Plan. Due to the growing need for Fatherhood Responsibility and its impact on Maternal Child Health, the Coalition has developed a Fatherhood Initiative Task Force for Northeast Florida region and plans to collaborate with area fatherhood providers. The program will build on the foundations established by the Coalition and the Florida Department of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement Department’s “Bringing Relief, Education and Assets to Children and their Household” Project (BREACH), which ceased services in August 2014.

The needs of referred fathers will be assessed and addressed through a three-tier case management system, that will include a text message personalized education and reminder system, peer mentorship, group classes and a variety of community referrals, including but not limited to financial literacy classes through Real$ense, employment assistance through the Jacksonville Urban League, fatherhood training using evidence-based curricula from the National Fatherhood Initiative and more.

Program and partner agency staff will also receive training on domestic violence and preventing, detecting and reporting child abuse. The Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives at the University of North Florida will serve as local project evaluator.