United States Department of Health & Human Services

HHS’ Fatherhood Initiative

Around the Regions:
Region 7

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Region 7 Home Page
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska

Dan Houlahan
Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services
601 East 12th Street, Room 276
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone: 816-426-2271
FAX: 816-426-2888
dan.houlahan @ acf.hhs.gov

Carolyn Sherlak
Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services
601 East 12th Street, Room 276
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone: 816-426-2285
FAX: 816-426-2888
carolyn.sherlak @ acf.hhs.gov

State Activities

The following lists each of Region VII’s State Fatherhood Project Websites & Basic Facts.

Iowa

Project Website of Interest

http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/fatherhood/iaprojects.htm

Facts

Kansas

Project Websites of Interest

http://www.fathers.com/
The National Center for Fathering is located in Kansas

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/CSITN10.htm
Note: Description located under “State Watch” Section as Kansas Shawnee County Fatherhood Court Project

Facts

Picture of father with son.Picture of father with son.Picture of father with son.

Dodge City, Kansas Father-Child Night (See pictures above)

The Head Start program in Dodge City, Kansas successfully implemented its Father-Child Night for the school year. This activity provided additional impetus and reinforcement for the beginning of a fatherhood initiative in Dodge City. All fathers and other related males in Head Start families were invited through notices that were sent to homes and posted in classrooms, at the Family Center building, and on the public marquis outside the public school district facility.

As a result fathers and other males attended the activity and participated in any of three activities with their children, using materials provided by the Head Start program. The event also produced another significant parent involvement activity in that those mothers and other children of program families met in a separate room and interacted in a number of different ways.

While participating in the Father-Child Night, fathers and other males were introduced to activities that could easily be replicated in their homes. The activity also taught involved males that their time could be shared with their children easily and inexpensively and that their verbal interactions with their children could be considered "quality time," which contributes to the children's feelings of personal security and stability. In addition, the children benefited from the time spent interacting with their fathers because fathers' demonstrated interest provides considerable emotional support for children, which enhances children's self-esteem.

Finally, the mothers of the families involved benefited from the opportunity to meet with other mothers and share parenting experiences and from the knowledge that their husbands/significant others were seizing an opportunity to learn more about their children and about themselves, which might foster a better understanding of male parental responsibilities and thereby encourage them to become more supportive and more willing to share in child raising activities.

Child Care Association of Wichita/Sedgwick County:
Early Head Start Fatherhood Program

Seeing the importance of having fathers involved in the lives of their children, three men associated with the Wichita Early Head Start Program formed a Fatherhood Committee in April 2001. In the beginning fathers were encouraged to bring their kids one Saturday a month to a cookout, where usually a speaker or a lesson plan was presented. In November 2002, two of the original "founders" of the program traveled to Washington DC for in-depth Fatherhood Training.

From this Training a Fatherhood Curriculum for their Program was developed. The curriculum includes sessions on:

Beginning in January 2003 this curriculum was and continues to be used fulltime. This group now meets every Monday evening. About 5-7 fathers attend regularly. Quarterly all the fathers attend a big socialization. This socialization usually consists of a speaker or a special event.

Contact Information: Glenda Wilcox, Director
Andrew Bierig, Training Secretary, Fatherhood Committee [RBierig @ ccaehs.org]
Early Head Start
200 W. Douglas, Suite 200
Wichita, KS 67202
316-263-0669
http://www.childcareassociation.org

Southeast Kansas Community Action Program
Annual Fatherhood Summits

The local Head Start has held annual Regional Fatherhood Summits over the past two years. The Conferences have featured workshops highlighting:

Door prizes were awarded, not only to adults, but to children in our on-site childcare, which was provided by a local Faith Based Organization at no cost to the program or the participants. The Grand Prize was a drawing for a trip for 1 father to attend the National Fatherhood Summit and for 2 others to attend the Kansas Fatherhood Summit. Other prizes included activities for families, such as games, fishing poles, cookbooks and tools.

The Fatherhood Taskforce is fully aware of the critical role male figures play in the lives of children and their families. Outcomes based plans have been developed for men to be more responsible, committed and involved in their child's life. Our measures include: male involvement in classrooms as volunteers or employees, involved males in home visits and Parent Teacher conferences and involving more men on Policy Council.

Some of the planned activities:

Contact Information: Sharla Hopper
Email: sharlah @ sek-cap.com
Phone: 316-725-8204

Missouri

Project Websites of Interest

http://www.pbs.org/workfamily/states/resmissouri.htm
PBS Listing of ACF Regional Office Fatherhood Contact
http://www.fathers.com
The National Center for Fathering’s Urban Father/Child Project is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri

Facts

The YWCA St. Louis Head Start Program Male Involvement Initiative

In September of 1997, the YWCA St. Louis Head Start program instituted its Male Involvement program with the goal of increasing the involvement of fathers in the lives of pre-school aged children. The Danforth Foundation funded the initial project for two years, at which time it was fully integrated into the YWCA Head Start/Early Head Start program. In 1999, the male involvement initiative adopted the moniker Ma. G. I. C., or Male Guiding and Involving Children to describe the YWCA Head Start/Early Head Start program.

The Ma.G.I.C. program is a local strategy that aimed at improving the quality of life for children. It is also aimed at reinforcing the family structure of the people we serve. To improve the quality of life for our families is to encourage the involvement of the female, as well as the male parent.

The program also recognizes that men in society have been displaced from their families for a variety of circumstances, such as incarceration, poverty, substance abuse, lack of communication skills within the realm of the family structure and faulty expectations and norms. The YWCA's male involvement initiative (Ma.G.I.C.), represents a comprehensive approach of reaching out to the local communities, families, fathers' and male mentors, for the purpose of inspiring men to become more involved in the early childhood development in the lives of their children. Participation in Ma.G.I.C. is open to the biological parent as well as family members, such as grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and other positive male figures that influence the child's life.

Since the inception of the Ma.G.I.C. Initiative, the YWCA Head Start/Early Head Start program has made systemic modifications, which includes the hiring practices of staff, as well as the recruitment of potential families. In addition, there have been strategic plans developed by each of the16 centers, which include activities focused on increasing the male presence. Moreover, there have been self-development presentations and programs for staff. The training includes methods for alleviating staff biases, procedures for staff to recruit men, and training for male and female parents regarding parenting practices, relationships building, domestic violence, etc. The Male Involvement program also provides technical assistance to other social service organizations seeking to increase their male involvement

Self-sustaining activities have been developed, focused on the retention of the male mentors. One of the activities developed is Donuts for Dads done on a quarterly basis to welcome fathers and give a brief informational on what's happening in their center and for them to spend some quality time with their children at breakfast. Monthly Ma.G.I.C. meetings are held and ran by the fathers and significant males in the centers, who discuss improvements of male involvement for the center and activities to provide a positive male presence in the centers. There is also The YWCA Head Start/Early Head Start Male Leadership Summit (this year marks, the 6th annual commitment to fatherhood and male involvement). Other programs include: the Literacy is Liberating program, Baby FAST, Ma.G.I.C. mentoring program, parent involvement awards, appreciation banquets, and the sponsoring of this year's 8th Annual Fatherhood Walk and Rally.

Ma.G.I.C. has established links throughout the community by the development of the Ma.G.I.C. Advisory Committee to provide training and educational opportunities for males through the partnership efforts with Consumer Credit counseling, Employment Connection, WIGGS Construction, Cross Janitorial, United States Army, Foresters Finical Group, Met Life and a host of others who sit on the committee. Future plans for male involvement include the continual improvement of our training manual and curriculum in order to develop the strategic methods necessary to achieve higher levels of male involvement.

Contact Information: Thomas J. Johnson, BSW
Male Involvement Specialist
Phone: 314-427-4940, ext. 237

Nebraska

Project Website of Interest

http://www.nebraskachildren.org/about_us/programs/fatherhood/index.html

Facts

The Fatherhood Initiative at the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska — Head Start is striving to increase the involvement of men in the lives of their children in the south central portion of Nebraska. This Initiative promotes fatherhood to families of Head Start children through education, support and advocacy.

Initiatives include:

For further information — http://www.mnca.net/ (Scroll down to the "Fatherhood Initiative" tab)

Central Nebraska Community Services
Schuyler Head Start/Fatherhood Initiatives

With Schuyler, Nebraska having had a large growth in Hispanic families over the past few years, the local Head Start Center developed a Fatherhood Initiative respecting the language and culture of these families. A bilingual Fatherhood Specialist was hired to develop the Fatherhood programs. These programs include:

Contact: Schuyler Head Start/Early Head Start
101 East 12th/107 West 12th
P.O. Box 6
Schuyler, NE 68661
Email: shstart @ gilligan.esu7.k12.ne.us
Phone: (402) 352-5084

WISNER HEAD START DAD'S NIGHT
Excitement was in the air!! The center was filled with voices both young and old. Each child was busy trying to show its special guest all there was to see and experience at Head Start. Circle time was precious as each child took his or her turn introducing themselves and Dad, Grandpa, Uncle Bob or whomever they had invited. He's Dad — just Dad — or Jim — or Paul — or Grandpa — or maybe my dad Chris — the introductions were wonderful.

Several other activities followed and the interaction was non-stop. Every dad was one-on-one during free choice time… playing a game, building, drawing, cooking in the kitchen or playing a computer game. Soon it was time to pick up. The "clean up" song was not familiar to the dads, but it didn't take more than a few seconds for them to catch on. It was fun!!!

This year at Wisner Head Start, Dad's Night was also our second Reading is Fundamental (RIF) distribution. Each pair found a cozy spot so dad/(special guest) could read the book that the child had personally selected the day before. The air hummed with conversation as much reading and communication carried on. Many questions were asked and answered. I heard several requests to "read it again!" Each child took their book home that evening, in hopes that many more evenings would be spent reading together.

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Last updated June 29, 2005

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