Engaging The Power Of Dads
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Engaging The Power Of Dads

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Presented at the Federation for Families Conference, December 4-6, 2009

Presented at the Federation for Families Conference, December 4-6, 2009
(Bradley D. Norman, LCSW, Director, Family Partnership Institute, EMQ FamiliesFirst

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  • FRANK Introduce session, panel
  • Brad, Gerry and Earl
  • Frank
  • Brad
  • Frank
  • FRANK Fathers may be either fully or partially absent from family life. Fathers may be fully absent because of their death, their incarceration, or their abandonment of their families. The category of partially absent fathers includes fathers who live in a different household due to divorce or separation. It also includes fathers who were never married to and no longer live with their children’s mother, but who maintain some contact with their children. In most respects, a study of father absence is also a consideration of female-headed families. The most common reasons for father absence are divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and incarceration. Currently widows make up only 3.6 percent of female-headed families. Evident is the growth of never-married mother households and the decline in widowed mother households. Single-mother households with absent husbands are a declining, yet significant fraction of single-mother households. Some such families are formed when a father is incarcerated. In all likelihood, the reason for the single-mother family matters in terms of the associated need for assistance from others. Divorce, for example, may not cause the same level of economic distress as unmarried motherhood, because divorced fathers pay more child-support than never-married fathers.8
  • BRAD Single mothers differ from married mothers in a number of ways that contribute to poverty,
  • Frank
  • FRANK The Technical Assistance Partnership’s Cultural Competency Action Team asked Walter R. McDonald & Associates – the program contractor that evaluates the national Childen’s Mental Health Initiative – to analyze data from dozens of communities funded by the federal government to develop systems of care between 2002 and 2005. Kurt Moore analyzed the data for us, and the results were not encouraging. Putting aside the many households where fathers were not present in the households, those fathers who ARE present were significantly less likely than mothers to report that: “ I felt free to do what I wanted for my child’s treatment,” “ I chose to get treatment for my child,” “ It was my idea to get treatment for my child,” and “ I had a lot of control over whether my child got treatment.” We can conclude, from this large sample of parents, that even When Fathers Are Present—They Often Feel Marginalized and Disempowered by the Systems that serve their children.
  • GERRY RODRIGUEZ
  • JOE TURNER
  • Frank
  • BRAD etc THE EMQ GANG WILL RUN THE SHOW HERE – HOW CAN THE REST OF US HELP?
  • Jerry Roach to speak first. Among Jerry’s key points: When engaging a family get to know the dads role. Dads may have non traditional roles. Don't assume that the dad agrees with mom regarding services Dads should be equally involved in care and learning as the mom. Earl Kelly to speak second , and tell the story he has presented often in the past:
  • JOE Talk about Living in St. Joseph - 3 Kids and I like to give them nick names. Joe (32) and Lynn (28) have been married 3 years and had Joniyah (2) and Barack (1) in the first 2 years of marriage. Trysten (10) is the oldest child. We are a family who loves our Christian faith. Trysten and Lynn are the reason that Joe has taken on his role in the system as well as at home. We are all involved in system of care leadership. Talk about us getting married and Lynn had a son at the time, that we had a kid for each of the first 2 years of marriage. Talk about the importance of faith in our home; Church attendance, promote Christian music to the kids Talk about the mental health issues of Trysten (ADHD and Asbergers) Lynn (Bipolar, PTSD) Talk about Lynn’s roles on Policy team and help with the youth advisory group as well. Systems of care should really think about not being ran like traditional business where involving husbands and wife's are considered conflicts of interest. Churches often have husband and wife leadership and staffing. Tell about how Lynn knew a clinical social worker for years who recommended her to the system of care leadership, which invited Lynn to the meeting and I attended. Later we were invited to be part of the system of Care policy team and applied for the Job of lead family contact. Was in the plan that a person would be recruited from the parents that had attended the early focus groups.
  • JOE Share with people how you honor the value of being youth guided I ask my son trysten what he thought the I did for the family and hear are some of the things he said Talk about what I learned about my role from him He sees me as responsible for the family finacally He remembers the sill things that I do to make his life fun He reconizes that I help him learn how to act and how to make decsions that will be good for him He knows that I value his education and will help him with that He reconizes his dad a key to his success as a person He sees me care for his brother and sister in the same way and is inspired by that
  • JOE
  • JOE and JERRY
  • JOE and JERRY To provide peer to peer support for fathers involved in the system of care. To provide education and information to the system of care regarding the needs of fathers. To find out from dads what it is that would help them to be more involved in the mental health services of their children. As lead family, contacted fathers who were not being engaged in the health services of their child. Support and empower the male’s role in the system and in the family. Dad’s needs are very different from the needs of mothers.
  • FRANK Work around work, when you can. Make sure to understand fathers’ work schedules. Schedule meetings when convenient for fathers. Consult with fathers in advance, when they can’t be there. Arrange to seek fathers’ input/ideas/concerns in advance of meetings they will be unable to attend. When fathers must be absent, follow-up with them to ensure they understand what has been discussed, elicit their ideas and, feedback, and incorporate into their children’s plans. Individualize, diversify, tailor and trim. Ensure that service plans are tailored to accommodate the diverse needs of fathers, by ensuring that cultural preferences, practices and mores are learned, understood and honored. To develop truly effective individualized plans, make every effort to discover fathers’ strengths, needs and key cultural considerations that are relevant to addressing the needs of their children. 
  • EARL Somebody knows who the dad is Somebody knows where the dad is Family search protocols are highly effective Who said? How long ago? How old are those orders? Seek information, not money Dads usually in jail for something other than child abuse and are the easiest to locate and contact
  • FRANK
  • FRANK Coping Before Deployment Preparing for the changes. Reassure your child that the loved one is trained to do his/her job in the military and every effort will be made to keep the loved one safe. Remind your child that she will be taken care of and protected. Your child may ask questions about this repeatedly and often—be patient and reassuring as you answer the questions each time. Make a plan to stay connected with the loved one. Some ideas include emails or even just promising to think about each other at a certain time each day. Spend time together in the time prior to deployment. Coping During Deployment Stay connected to the absent family member. Look at pictures, count down days on the calendar, find where the family member is on a map, etc. Find ways to keep the absent family member present in your child‘s life. The military offers programs to help families get through these difficult times (e.g. STOMP). What to Expect Upon Return The return of the absent family member will be joyous and exciting. It will also bring a time of adjustment as all of you get used to having the returning family member back home again. Sometimes it can be hard for the returning member to get back into the typical rhythm of family life again. Readjustment Challenges: Feeling alienated No battle rhythm A new set of complex problems-Financial, Marital, Sexual Desire to remain in control, but tired of making constant decisions Impatient with bureaucracies and slow decisions Struggle to find importance in daily responsibilities Discover that “old problems” within family still exist & “new problems” have been created Frustration with others lack of appreciation for what we have.  
  • FRANK Be familiar with cultural conceptions of health and mental health Many cultures have a holistic view of health and well-being, believe in spiritual causes for illness, such as the loss of one’s soul in the Hmong culture or the “evil eye” curse in the Somali culture. Hire and support bilingual/bicultural service providers … More likely to seek services from bilingual/bicultural service providers who share the same background and understandings of mental health problems, family dynamics etc. as they do. Immigration Status (e.g. INS raids – Postville IA) - -
  • BRAD Both probation officers and child welfare workers have legal responsibility to identify and seek family resources for the youth under their jurisdiction.
  • BRAD
  • EARL
  • EARL
  • BRAD
  • BRAD Access all your conflict management skills, keep the focus on the needs of the baby Transportation, timing of meetings, financial incentives Maintain a positive, encouraging attitude.
  • FRANK Recruit fathers for influential, decision-making positions, and provide them with training to be effective in their functions. Actively seek out dads thru individual phone calls, home visits, face-to-face relationship building. Individualize outreach to fathers. Effective methods are often different than those with mothers. Use methods that involve more doing than talking . Go where the fathers are (e,g, houses of worship, barbershops). Male to male outreach, engagement and partnering for success. Gear outreach and social marketing efforts to reach fathers in ways that are inviting, non-judgmental and de-stigmatizing. Fathers have feelings, too. Acknowledge, respect fathers’ perspectives and communication styles. Ensure that professionals speak with and to (eye to eye contact) fathers --not about or over them.
  • FRANK Create father-friendly programs. (Encourage fathers to bring their children to the program, and create activities for the children.) Focus on action. Men typically prioritize f ixing problems over talking about them. Develop father-centered activities (sports activities, camping). Have fathers lead projects and have them recruit other men. Collaborate with other community activities that focus on fathers. Understand, respect and provide training to staff about the “culture of fathers” (innate characteristics and socialization). Provide training focused on the social-emotional development of children, on practical parenting skills and on the essential contributions of fathers to their children’s development. This training is as important for mothers as for fathers.
  • FRANK Develop and provide training/coaching/mentoring geared specifically for fathers, by fathers, including unique populations such as teen fathers, traditional Somali fathers, etc. so that they can serve as role models and mentors for other fathers. Create opportunities to encourage fathers’ mentoring of children. Ensure the inclusion and participation of fathers in family support groups and family leadership teams. Don’t let your paperwork betray you! Ensure that all forms (registration, intake, evaluation) used for intake interviews, screenings, clinical assessments and evaluations, service and supports, and system evaluation (methodology, data fields chosen, analysis of data); speak about and include fathers in the information and interventions. Retention is imperative! Make purposeful efforts to retain and challenge men in positive ways. Link with local, state and national fatherhood initiatives to share information and develop partnerships that are mutually beneficial.
  • BRAD
  • FRANK
  • FRANK Closing, Q & A - Discusion

Engaging The Power Of Dads Engaging The Power Of Dads Presentation Transcript

  • Engaging the Power of Dads: A National Federation of Families Roundtable Discussion Earl Kelly, Parent Involvement Coordinator Jerry Roach, Fatherhood Group Joseph Turner, Family Coordinator Brad Norman LCSW, Family Partnership Institute Gerry Rodriguez Ph.D., EMQ Families First Frank Rider MS, National Federation of Families
  • Our Mission: We do whatever it takes to: Help children Strengthen families Build community And advocate for systems change To ensure that our families thrive. With 1500 employees, we provide innovative and effective mental health, wraparound, and foster care services and supports to over 18,000 children and family members per year in 32 California counties.
    • Fathers include biological and adoptive dads, stepfathers and legal guardians. When we need to make a more precise point about one of these kinds of fathers, we will explain it more specifically.
    • Social Father: A man who is “like a father” to children. He is either a relative or an unrelated male who provides support for children other than his own. Relative social fathers include grandfathers, uncles, cousins or older brothers.
    • A non-relative social father can include a stepfather, adoptive father, foster-father, fictive kin (non-biological uncle, grandfather, big brother, etc.), or male friend of either biological parent.
    A Note About Fathers….
  • Facts About Father Involvement
    • Studies have found that:
      • 63% of black children, 35% of Hispanic children and 28% of white children do not live with their biological father s
      • In 1997, 65% of poor children did not live with their biological fathers, compared to 25% of children who were not poor
      • 20% of all non-resident fathers are believed to earn less than $6,000 a year.
    • [From: Father Facts, National Fatherhood Initiative (2007)]
  • Facts about Father Involvement in Systems of Care
    • Per August 2009 National Evaluation Summary:
    • 17% Live with Both Bio Parents
    • 36% Live with Bio Mother Only
    • 03% Live with Bio Father Only
    • 16% Live with Bio Mother and Her Partner
    • 02% Live with Bio Father and His Partner
    • 11% Live with Grandparents or Other Relatives
    • 05% Live with Adoptive Families
    • 03% Live with Foster Families
    • Source: Kurt Moore, WRMA – Phase IV & V Communities
  • Where Are the Dads?
    • “ Today, half of all children, and 80% of African American children, can expect to spend at least part of their childhood living apart from their fathers.” – Nock & Einolf, 2008
    • Single/Unwed Mothers (34% of births today)
    • Separation, Divorce, Abandonment
    • Military Service
    • Incarceration
    • Away: Business, Immigration Status
    • Death, etc.
  • Consequences of Father Absence
    • Children with unmarried parents are three times more likely to be living below the poverty line
    • A child with a biological mother and her unmarried partner have the highest odds of being below the poverty line
    • Thirty-eight percent of the children in this living arrangement are poor.
    • Source: Kreider, R M and Fields, J (2005). Living Arrangements of Children: 2001 . Current Population Studies, P70-104. Table 2. Washington DC: US Census Bureau.
  • Children with Involved, Loving Dads Do Better
    • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to:
    • Do well in school
    • Have healthy self-esteem
    • Exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior
    • Avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy
    • and delinquent activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
    • Fathers who live with their children are more
    • likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not.
    • Source: National Fatherhood Initiative’s (NFI) Father Facts
  • When Fathers Are Present… They Often Feel Marginalized and Disempowered by the System:
    • Per August 2009 National Evaluation Summary,
    • Fathers less likely than Mothers to report:
    • “ I felt free to do what I wanted for my child’s treatment,”
    • “ I chose to get treatment for my child,”
    • “ It was my idea to get treatment for my child,”
    • “ I had a lot of control over whether my child got treatment.”
    • Source: Kurt Moore, WRMA – Phase IV & V Communities
    • of the Children’s Mental Health Initiative
  • Fathers Are Marginalized by Systems
    • Cultural patterns and beliefs
    • Pre-natal focus on mothers, daytime appts.
    • Pediatric focus on mothers, daytime appts.
    • Preschool focus on mothers, daytime activities
    • Education system
    • Child Welfare system: maternal relatives
    • Mental Health system: child focus (identified patient), mother often represents both parents.
  • That Is A Real Shame, because:
    • Dads care about their children and families deeply.
    • They want their families to see them as a safety valve.
    • Dads like to be the fixers, and prefer to be empowered to fix.
    • While all of these things are true, it is also true that Dads come in all styles.
  • Information Resources Include:
    • Fatherhood Initiative
      • www. fatherhood .org/
    • Family Partnership Institute, EMQ FamiliesFirst
      • www. emq-fpi .org
    • National Federation of Families –
    • www.ffcmh.org
    • Federal Health and Human Services Agency -
      • http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/
    • Technical Assistance Partnership – www.tapartnership.org
  • Connecting
    • Stand up, find a partner, stand face to face
    • You will each have 30 seconds
    • Challenges to locating fathers in your work with families and children
    • Challenges to engaging fathers in your work with families and children
    • Strategies that have been successful
    • Benefits of engaging fathers
    • Back to my seat.
  • Two Dads’ Stories
  • The Turner Family
    • Joe and Lynn, Barack (Booboo Dede), Trysten (Bo diston), Joniyah (Bookie Tookie)
  • What does Trysten Say His Dad Does for the Family?
    • Dad pays the bills, dad tells us what we can and cannot buy.
    • Dad makes the family laugh.
    • Dad helps me with my social skills by telling me what is right and what is wrong.
    • Dad helps me with my homework by getting a calculator and checking my answers on math homework.
    • Made me a better person by teaching me to be successful.
    • Dad makes me listen to him (he gives me the look).
    • Dad plays with Barack and Joniyah.
    • Dad helps mom not to yell, and calms mom down when she gets upset.
    • Dad plays catch with me.
    • Dad coaches my football team.
  • What Does Lynn Say Dad Does for the Family?
    • Provides structure and stability.
    • Provides encouragement.
    • Helps us to look at the here and now during tough times .
    • Loves and protects
    • Helps the family find coping skills and ways to manage mental health.
    • Ask questions to assist in problem solving
  • Why It Is Important to Include Fathers in Systems of Care:
    • They love their children, are integral to their families and communities.
    • They can be part of the solutions needed to address families’ challenges.
    • They are undervalued by systems at present.
    • They bring rich perspectives to systems that have largely focused on the mothers and female caregivers.
    • When fathers are involved, data shows better outcomes for their children.
    • Since the majority of enrolled children in Systems of Care are male, inclusion of male caregivers is especially critical.
    • Building Systems of Care is hard work, and we need everyone involved.
  • “ Father’s/Dad’s Time” in the Circle of HOPE SOC
    • Peer to peer support for fathers
    • Educate and inform the system of care about the needs of fathers.
    • Find out from dads what would help them to be more involved in the MH services of their children.
    • Support and empower the male’s role in both the system and in the family.
    • Dad’s needs are very different
    • from the needs of mothers.
  • Involving Fathers in Their Children’s Services:
    • Work around Dad’s work, when you can.
    • Consult with Dads in advance, if they can’t be there.
    • Fill in fathers on what they miss, and reach out to use their ideas anyway.
    • Individualize, diversify, tailor and trim.
    • Discover and account for fathers’ strengths, needs, and their key cultural considerations . 
  • If Absent, Where Are They?
    • Unknown?
    • Out of the country?
    • Haven’t been involved for a long time, lack contact information
    • Deemed “undesirable influence”
    • Court Orders prohibit parent/child contact
    • Avoiding arrest: back child support, etc.
    • Incarcerated.
  • Particular Engagement Challenges:
    • Military Service
    • Cultural Considerations
    • Child Welfare and Justice Systems
      • Incarcerated Parents
    • Teen Fathers.
  • Military Service
    • Preparing for, Coping during Deployment (Specialized Training of Military Families – a.k.a. STOMP - http://www.stompproject.org/ )
    • Reintegration Challenges - and how they effect engagement of parent in child’s treatment (Zero to Three – key topic: military families - http://www.zerotothree.org ).
  • Cultural Considerations
    • Be familiar with cultural conceptions of health and mental health
    • Integrate traditional health and healing practices
    • Hire and support bilingual/bicultural service providers
    • Use home visits and other “natural” places of contact (e.g. barber shop, church)
    • Immigration/refugee status – family fragmentation and fragility
  • Child Welfare and Justice Systems
    • Solicit partnership with social worker and/or Probation Officer to initiate contact with dad and dad’s extended family
    • Share information and effective strategies that will support their involvement.
  • Incarcerated Fathers
    • Show video
    • Assumptions about incarcerated mothers and fathers
    • Assumptions about the extended family members of incarcerated fathers
    • How difficult is it to locate incarcerated fathers? Not at all
    • Who will initiate contact?.
  • Father Search & Engagement
    • Check the files, especially earliest ones
    • Ask the child
    • Internet searching
    • Find one relative, you can find most
    • Average American child has 150-300 living relatives
    • Should loss of access to father equal loss of his entire side of the family?.
  • Range of Connections
    • Information about the family history and extended family members
    • Phone contact, texting, email
    • Visits, shared activities
    • Permanent adult connection
    • Potential placement with father or father’s family.
  • Strategies for Engagement
    • Understand professional and personal biases
    • Set program expectations to engage fathers consistently and persistently
    • Father-friendly environment—Assessment Tool
    • Communicate differently
    • Activities specifically for fathers and sons, fathers and daughters
    • Recognize and address cultural issues related to fatherhood.
  • Teenaged Fathers
    • Reach out to both families to support each other for the baby’s benefit
    • Include (invite, encourage, and support) teen dads in all programming for teen moms
    • Expect success, acknowledge challenges, and don’t give up!
  • Involving Fathers in Shaping the System – Part 1
    • Recruit fathers for influential, decision-making positions.
    • Actively seek out fathers…
    • Individualize outreach to fathers.
    • Use methods that involve more doing than talking .
    • Go where the fathers are (houses of worship, barbershops).
    • Male to male outreach, engagement, partnering.
    • Outreach that is inviting, non-judgmental , de-stigmatizing.
    • Fathers have feelings, too.
    • Speak with and to fathers -- not about or over them.
  • Involving Fathers in Shaping the System – Part 2
    • Create father-friendly programs.
    • Focus on action.
    • Develop father-centered activities.
    • Deploy fathers as leaders and recruiters of other men.
    • Join up with other community activities focussed on fathers.
    • Teach staff about the “culture of fathers.”
    • Help fathers learn about:
      • social-emotional development of children,
      • practical parenting skills, and
      • the essential contributions of fathers to their children’s development.
  • Involving Fathers in Systems of Care – Part 3
    • Training/coaching/mentoring geared for fathers, by fathers (including unique populations: teen fathers, traditional Somali fathers),
    • Encourage fathers’ mentoring of children.
    • Include fathers in family support groups, family leadership teams.
    • Don’t let your paperwork betray you! It must speak about and include fathers in information and plans.
    • Retention of involved fathers is imperative!
    • Link with local, state and national fatherhood initiatives.
  • Be Part of the Solution: Agency/Staff Assessment Tool
    • Leadership and Organizational Philosophy
    • Parent-involvement Program
    • Program Physical Environment
    • Staff Training and Professional Development
    • Collaboration and Organizational Networking
    • Community Outreach.
  • Be Part of the Solution: Join Our Fatherhood Initiative
    • Cultural Competency Action Team of the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health
    • Monthly toll-free 1-hour conference calls:
    • 2 nd Thursday every month
    • 3 PM ET/ 2 PM CT/ 1 PM MT / Noon PT
    • Call in at 888-742-8686, then passcode 1335263#.
  • Unleash the Power of Dads!
    • Earl Kelly - [email_address]
    • Brad Norman - [email_address]
    • Frank Rider – [email_address]
    • Jerry Roach – [email_address]
    • Gerry Rodriguez - [email_address]
    • Joe Turner – [email_address]