Region 1 Home Page
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont
Administration for Children and Families
John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Rm 2000
Boston, MA 02203
As part of building an effective fatherhood strategy, Region I has developed strong partnerships with local, state and national fatherhood programs and organizations. Working with these partners, the Regional Office produces an annual Fathering Conference that is attended by Head Start staff, early childhood educators, state child support and child welfare staff, family service providers, parent educators, social workers, fatherhood program providers, advocates, and over 50 Dads from throughout New England. The conference features inspiring keynotes, workshops addressing important fathering issues, cutting edge and best practice models in fatherhood programming and service delivery, inspiring fatherhood moments, and networking opportunities. This year's conference, our seventh, was entitled Fathers Count Everywhere! It featured keynote speakers and workshops in four arenas dads and family & community, dads and the legal system, dads and education, and dads and health. Workshops included Head Start Father Involvement Building Blocks, working with incarcerated dads and their families, integrating marriage support systems into fatherhood programs, fathers and the child welfare system, how local faith communities support dads, becoming a father through adoption, shaken baby syndrome, men's health and mental health issues, understanding oral health, effective partnerships that support fathers, leading fatherhood groups, child support 101, and working with dads of children with disabilities.
The Regional Office also plays a key leadership role in producing a major Father's Day celebration for fathers and families called Dads Make A Difference. The free public event, now in its 8th year, takes place on the Boston Common, and draws a crowd of over 10,000 participants. The day's activities include onstage entertainment featuring magicians, comedy acts, and multi-cultural music and dance performances, as well as hands-on educational exhibits and activities, and over 30 information tables about local organizations and resources to help families and especially dads. This year's event will have two new tents an infant-toddler tent with special activities, quiet corners, and changing tables, all sponsored by the Bright Horizons Foundation, and a "planning for success" tent that will provide information on financial literacy services, financial aid for college, and other financial services. The event also honors approximately 75 Super Dads. These fathers and father figures are nominated by children who write a 200-word essay explaining why their dad or other significant male is a Super Dad. The event has several local media sponsors, including radio, TV and print, as well as corporate supporters. For the last three years the event has been coordinated with a prostate cancer awareness walk. This idea for a celebratory Father's Day event is now replicated in several other New England communities in NH, CT and MA.
Region I continues to provide leadership and support for father and male involvement projects both nationally and Regionally. The Regional Administrator for Region I served as the co-chair for the immensely successful The Father Factor: National Head Start Institute on Father Involvement held in Dallas. He also produced the fatherhood segment of the Head Start Hispanic Institute in Albuquerque. Virtually all of Region I's Head Start and Early Head Start programs applied for the special HS funding to expand their parent involvement component and now provide a specific focus on involving fathers in their child's Head Start experience. The Regionally developed Head Start Self-Assessment Guide which includes a subset of questions relating to father involvement activities is now being used nationally. Programs report that the assessment helps grantees prepare for PRISM reviews and also helps to keep the importance of father involvement in full view for staff, parents and the local community.
Finally, all of the Region I states continue to provide a wide range of access and visitation services to address access and parenting needs of unwed, divorced, and separated parents. MA is implementing an 1115 demonstration project to provide a wide range of services, including healthy marriage education, to new dads and their families. The Regional Office remains engaged with state fatherhood initiatives, including serving on state task forces and participating in state fatherhood networks, as well as sharing information about available resources for fatherhood programs.
Access and Visitation. Massachusetts provides unwed parents with courses in parenting education and on how to proceed through the court system. The expected outcome is that parenting plans will be developed by and for noncustodial and custodial parents.
Access and Visitation. Rhode Island continues to provide court-based mediation programs and supervised visitation services that are scheduled to accommodate parents with traditional working hours. The Rhode Island Family Court developed a brochure and educational video for children of divorced or separated parents that specifically address the realities of parental separation and offers suggestions for coping with a change in family structure.
RIPIN, Rhode Island Parents and Information Network, has developed a statewide network of fatherhood program providers and advocates similar to the Fathers and Families Network developed by the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund. The state DV Coalition is working with the statewide fatherhood network around cross training.
The NH Commission on the Status of Men was formed in October 2003. The first of its kind in the nation, the Commission holds monthly meetings to review and discuss issues that have an impact upon all men. Fatherhood was one of the first topics identified for review and discussion by the Commission.
Connecticut has developed a fatherhood program certification process and has certified five programs throughout the state. These programs, which include community as well as faith based organizations, provide a broad range of services to fathers and their families. Fathers who want to participate in CT's child support arrearage management program must participate in one of the certified fatherhood programs as a condition of eligibility.
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Last updated June 29, 2005