Family-strengthening professionals strive to support all members of a family. The reality, though, is that supports offered are often targeted to and resonate more with mothers and other female-identifying caregivers. That’s why the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families invited speakers to share what life during the pandemic has been like from the perspective of fathers and other male-identifying caregivers at October's Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 conversation.
Denver Indian Center and Colorado Department of Human Services have each received an award for the FIRE Fatherhood Grant program from the United States Department of Human Services. Office of Early Childhood presented on the grant received by Colorado Department of Human Services, sharing that it will fund seven sites across Colorado to work toward the goal of strengthening fathers’ well-being and preventing child maltreatment through wrap-around services and supports. Their grant will focus on healthy marriage, responsible parenting, and economic stability. Any father with a child under the age of 24 will be eligible to participate, with a focus on certain groups, such as male caregivers living in poverty with newborns, military and veteran fathers, unemployed fathers, and fathers re-entering after incarceration. If you would like to learn more about the grant received by Colorado Department of Human services, please see the presentation slides or reach out to Aaron Miller. If you would like to learn more about the grant received by Denver Indian Center, please contact Thomas G. Allen, Jr.
Cameron Lundstrom, Parent Advocate at the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel and founder of A Nap & A Sandwich, discussed his role representing parents involved in the child welfare system and sharing his own experiences with other parents to help them address challenges and make their own decisions through peer support coaching. Cameron shared that providing this critical support of fathers in a nearly all-virtual way during the pandemic has been challenging, but he has been able to adapt.
Adam Combs and Adrian Nuñez shared their experience starting a Circle of Fathers group amidst the pandemic. They decided to start a Circle of Fathers group with the goal of providing a space for fathers to support each other and to show them that it is okay to make mistakes and ask for help. They planned to host the group in-person and offer child care and dinner, but COVID-19 had other plans. As is the case with so many things this year, they had to adapt to instead hosting the groups virtually. While not ideal, a participant in the group shared that the group has helped him tremendously in feeling like he is not alone and in being able to share and hear valuable ideas on how to deal with certain challenges.
A key takeaway from the perspectives that each of these speakers shared was that fathers and other male caregivers need supports and spaces that are specifically intended and designed for them.
Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families would love to have more male-identifying caregiver perspectives represented in the Full Partnership and in each of its Work Groups. If you know a male caregiver who might be interested in participating in the Partnership in a family voice role, please have them fill out the Family Voice Representative Interest Form. If you have questions about family voice in the Partnership, please reach out to Hattie Landry.
The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families works collaboratively across the State of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving.
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