Over the last 100 years, there have been many resources that support mothers and their children. Typically, mothers have been the caregivers while fathers are the breadwinners. However, more and more experts in the field of psychology are recognizing that the father plays a significant role in the development of children.
Although fathers have been out of the parental picture as far as resources go, there are a number of organizations, both in Los Angeles, as well as throughout the country that are focusing on men and their role as parents. Part of this initiative was prompted by the need to curb domestic violence as well as abuse of children. However, studies are also that children without fathers are more likely to live in poverty, participate in substance abuse, experience truancy from school or drop out, develop emotional or behavioral problems, or be incarcerated. With the presence of participating fathers who are nurturing and loving in a family structure, children have more of a chance of thriving and living in health. For this reason, community resources are looking at ways to strengthen the relationships within families, both between parents as well as the relationship parents have with their children.
The Children’s Institute, Inc. of Los Angeles (CII) is doing just this. Their aim is to assist the families who experience violence and to strengthen their relationships so that violence is no longer a part of their daily experience. In fact, CII calls the level of family violence in LA a “crisis” providing the following statistics on their website:
- In Los Angeles, violence is a daily fact of life.
- 50,000 reports of child abuse/neglect are filed annually
- The level of abuse reports are estimated to be 400 a day, 17 an hour.
- Police respond to 43,000 reports of domestic violence, many involving children.
Their community initiative called “Fatherhood” is meant to aide in the building of relationships between fathers and their children, as well as the relationships they have with their spouses. They offer the community the following services:
- 21Men in Relationship Groups (MIRG) throughout the greater Los Angeles County. Participation in the program and childcare are free of cost.
- Year around, open-ended groups; allowing fathers to attend groups as necessary.
- Relationship/Communication workshops are offered to fathers and their
- counseling services
- employment assistance
- financial literacy
- legal consultation
- parent-child enrichment activities
- Individual care coordination is provided to the fathers to help navigate systems and find community resources.
Also, for families who want to explore other resources, there is also the Los Angeles Fathers Program through the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They offer the following services to the community:
- Ten week parenting education groups for young fathers and on-going support groups
- for graduates of the parenting education series.
- Eight week Healthy Marriage/Relationship groups addressing partner communication,
- conflict resolution and active family decision making.
- Job training and placement.
- Case management services to link youth with project and other supportive services.
- Food bank (weekly).
- Public transportation allowance (tokens).
Lastly, other Los Angeles resources for fathers include:
- National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute
- National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
- The President’s Fatherhood Initiative
- Responsible Fatherhood Roundtable Event
- Elements of Promising Practice in Teen Fatherhood Programs
- Young Dads Program, Friends of the Family
- Project Fatherhood,
- Operation Life,
- Fatherhood Journey
- 24/7 Dad Youth Speak Collective
- Positive Parenting for Padres
- My Child Says Daddy
There’s no question that fathers need family support too. The American culture still communicates to men that they need to work and support their families versus being a part of the family so much. However, more and more families are changing that with the support of community organizations.