The Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF) is now partnering with the National Fatherhood Initiative to conduct a Fatherhood Friendly Check-Up Assessment across the agency. Theresa Freed, Communications Director for DCF, explains what the goal is for the check-up assessment.
“We work with families very closely on a day to day basis on a wide range of topics,” said Freed. “Whether it’s dealing with child support issues, welfare benefits, foster care, or family preservation we want to make sure that we’re relaying just how much value there is in fathers having an investment in their children’s lives.”
Freed says the project will give the DCF a better idea of any areas where they can improve on engaging fathers in their programs and services. In another effort to bring fathers closer to their children, George Williams, the Director of Fatherhood Initiative, will be traveling and teaching classes to social workers.
“One of the classes is ‘Why Bring Dads Into the Picture,’” said Williams. “I’ll be traveling across the state providing classes for social workers on the importance of the role of the dads but also some strategies on how they can engage fathers.”
Though the Fatherhood Friendly Check-Up Assessment is new, the DCF has been providing grants to fathers who want to reconnect and provide for their children since 2013.
“We work closely with organizations within the community across the state to provide different skills and education to fathers,” said Freed. “It’s to help overcome some of the barriers they might be facing in their life, whether it’s employment, domestic violence issues, or just learning how to become a responsible father.”
Child Support Services also offers debt-forgiveness programs to non-custodial parents who complete the class which was funded by the grant.