Article from: Prevent Child Abuse Iowa – June Newsletter – Celebrating Fatherhood
The impact of absent fathers is profound: children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems.Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.
Limited resources for fathers involved with the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the legal system only serves to further these issues. But YPN in Cedar Rapids has seen positive impacts of programming geared specifically toward fathers in need of resources and support.
24/7 Dads is an evidence-based curriculum that seeks to engage fathers in their families lives. Dads of any age can attend, and program participation is largely voluntary. Topics covered throughout the 12-week session include co-parenting, dealing with stress, balancing work, family, and relationships, and understanding boyhood to manhood.
Steve Nylin, who has been the Fatherhood Specialist at YPN for the last 15 years, credits the program’s relationship-building and mentorship among participants for the success achieved by the fathers involved. YPN has offered 24/7 Dads for 5 years and has seen many positive outcomes from the program. Several of the dads in the program struggle with relationships in their lives – either with their child’s mother, or other family members – and having a support network of other fathers who have seen and dealt with similar struggles is encouraging to them.
One of the key takeaways for fathers in the program is the impact of respect and values in the family. Steve works with the fathers to develop and understand the connection between their value system and the habits they want their children to learn. This helps the dads learn the impacts of positive parenting, leading to reduced risks of child abuse or neglect. 24/7 Dads curriculum works to give fathers the tools to be the parents they want to be. Steve credits the voluntary participation with much of the success seen by the fathers involved, because “they love their kids and want what’s best for them.”
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