Helping Men Become Better Fathers – Summit County Fatherhood Initiative

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Helping Men Become Better Fathers

 

The joint mission of the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative (SCFI) and the National Fatherhood Initiative is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.

 

The research shows …

 

Infants of highly involved fathers are more cognitively competent at 6 months and score higher on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.

 

School-aged children of involved fathers are also better academic achievers. They are more likely to get A’s, have better quantitative and verbal skills.

 

Children of involved fathers are more likely to enjoy school, have better attitudes toward school, participate in extracurricular activities, and graduate They are also less likely to fail a grade, have poor attendance, or have behavior problems at school.

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Children of involved fathers are more likely to become educationally mobile young adults with higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success, occupational competency, and psychological well being.

 

Father involvement directly impacts the emotional well-being of children …

 

Father involvement is positively correlated with children experiencing overall life satisfaction.

 

Children of involved fathers are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress and frustration are more likely to grow up to be tolerant and understanding.

 

Young adults who had nurturing and available fathers while growing up are more likely to score high on measures of self acceptance and personal and social adjustment.

 

Father involvement is positively correlated with children’s overall social competence, maturity, and capacity for relatedness with others.

 

Children of involved fathers are more likely to have positive peer relations and be popular and well liked. Their peer relations are typified by less negativity, less aggression, less conflict, more reciprocity, more generosity, and more positive friendship qualities.

 

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This significantly impacts the society these children create when they mature …

 

Father involvement protects children from engaging in delinquent behavior, and is associated with less substance abuse among adolescents, less delinquency, less drug use, truancy, and stealing, less drinking, and a lower frequency of externalizing and internalizing symptoms such as acting out, disruptive behavior, depression, sadness and lying.

 

Adolescents who strongly identified with their fathers were 80% less likely to have been in jail and 75% less likely to have become unwed parents.

 

 

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Fatherhood Initiative Helps Dad Build Bond That Lasts

Story Courtesy  of the United Way of Summit County

 

Michael, 59, and his 17-month-old son, Anthony, are inseparable. When Michael goes to work cutting hair at a barbershop in East Akron, Anthony comes with him.

 

“My job is to keep Anthony protected, by all means necessary,” says Michael. “I don’t allow myself to get sidetracked from what my job and my duty is, with him.”

 

Despite being such a devoted dad, Michael never had a relationship with his own father. Though his mother did her best with what she had, Michael’s childhood was marked by turbulence, and as he grew up, that turbulence followed him into adulthood. By his final release from prison in 2011, Michael had spent more than half of his life behind bars.

 

It was during that last, six-year stint at the Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield, Ohio, however, that Michael realized he needed to change his life. He completed a vocational training program, which allowed him to get work as a barber upon his release.

 

But for Michael, the turbulence was not yet over. In late 2014, he received a call from the hospital telling him that he had a newborn son, Anthony. Throughout her pregnancy, Anthony’s mother had struggled with addiction to heroin and cocaine, and when he was born, Anthony was placed first into neonatal intensive care and then into a foster home. Knowing he had a responsibility to Anthony, Michael fought to get custody of his son.

 

That process involved attending classes through the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative. The initiative, of which United Way is a key partner and fiscal sponsor, helps at-risk fathers develop healthy relationships with their children. For Michael, who had never raised a child on his own before, the classes were a source of guidance and support.

 

Eventually, recognizing his hard work and commitment, the courts granted Michael full custody of Anthony. Faced with the prospect of taking care of an infant son in his late 50s, Michael admits that part of him worried that his life was over.

 

No, the judge told him, his life had just begun.

 

Today, Anthony is as playful and rambunctious as any toddler, and though his bedroom in the small apartment he shares with his father is filled with toys, he is always trying to get into trouble. Yet Michael watches over him with the patience of a saint. His biggest fear is knowing that, because of his age, he may not always be around to take care of Anthony.

 

Last year, Michael received the Public Children Services Association of Ohio’s Family of the Year Award. Michael gives back to the people that helped him by speaking to classes through the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative.

 

During these speaking engagements, Anthony, as always, is at his side.

 

By partnering with projects like the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, United Way is making sure that every child has a stable, loving and supportive family.

 

For more information on Summit County Fatherhood Initiative (SCFI) go to: Summit County Fatherhood Initiative   or Dad’s 1st Call 4 Help: Dial 2-1-1

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