At a local fatherhood program you will find a complete approach to overcoming the very obstacles to becoming an engaged, responsible father. You will find a respectful, non-judgmental environment and a staff who understands where you are - some of them have been in your very situation. They have helped hundreds of guys just like you. At a fatherhood program you will also meet other fathers facing the same challenges and willing to help each other find a better life for themselves and their families. You will be encouraged and motivated even when you feel like giving up; however, you will not find any crutches in a fatherhood program. You will get out of it exactly what you put in to it. The staff will provide information to increase your knowledge and skills linking to resources to execute your personal plan for a better life.
Fathers are encouraged to join and fully participate in the entire program rather than simply patching up the problem-of-the-day. Fathers are invited to attend weekly peer support meetings where they join other fathers to learn about and share the process of building new personal support networks with men who want to do better and be better. The fatherhood curriculum addresses a wide range of topics aimed at improving employment, parenting, family relationships and much more. Topics include:
- Responsible Fatherhood
- Spiritual Development
- Effective Communication
- Education, Job Readiness and Employment
- Understanding Child Support and the Legal System
- Financial Management
- Parenting and Co-Parenting
- Healthy Relationships
- Domestic Violence
- Men's Health and Education
Fatherhood program staff members provide one-on-one assistance to help participants achieve their individually set goals in a One Man Plan. Staff members assist in multiple ways including: provide guidance to navigate the child support system, mediation with the child's mother and other family members, access to healthcare, record expungement, transportation, finding a job and stable housing. Parent/child activities are planned so that fathers and their children can spend together and make positive memories. Make no mistake, a fatherhood program can not address every problem especially when specialized help is need for serious issues like drug and alcohol problems, violent behavior and mental illness but fatherhood programs have direct links to other organizations known and trusted for delivering excellent services.
Fatherhood programs change lives and help men become the fathers they have always wanted to be.
Components of the Program
Peer group sessions address some of the fundamental issues that prevent men from having the stability in their lives that is necessary to be a responsible, caring father. There are classes in anger management, building self-esteem, communication skills and relationship building. Participants are taught how to manage their anger effectively and how to cope with the emotional stressors that interfere with couple and family relationships. Participants also learn effective communication skills so that they can communicate better with their children and the mothers of their children. Participants grow to understand their self-worth and their value to not only their children, but also the community as a whole.
Fathers are taught some of the basics of child development, including the physical, emotional and spiritual changes that occur in children at different stages. Communication skills between parents and children and the complexities of parental discipline are addressed and father/child relationship building activities are offered to allow fathers to spend quality time with their children.
Readiness Boot Camp and Employment
With the help of the program's job coach, each participant develops a career goal along with a realistic plan to reach that goal. The program features a new Job Readiness Boot Camp; an intensive job readiness component that addresses attitudes about work, expectations of employers, positive work habits and supportive networks as well as resume preparation, job seeking tools, and interviewing skills. Career Booster sessions are offered in weekly group session for those employed fathers who want to improve their employment status and seek a longer term career goal. The program supports fathers as they seek to secure employment, education, and training.
Legal Education, Rights
Participants are taught their legal rights and responsibilities as fathers. Fathers learn how to navigate the Child Support system in order to overcome the barriers preventing them from being a viable part of their children's lives. Topics include how to mediate a meaningful visitation agreement, resolving child support issues in family court, how to modify child support payments and the importance of paternity establishment.
Many fathers face chronic health conditions and untreated problems because they cannot afford treatment and mistrust many healthcare providers. The Lancaster Fatherhood Project has a nurse practitioner who provides health education, screenings, individualized treatment and referrals for specialized treatment and care from compassionate local healthcare providers. The men's health curriculum addresses men's health issues, the importance of healthy behaviors, sexual health and substance abuse.
The program offers transportation, referrals for services not offered by the program, and mediation.