Focused on the Impact of Father Presence/Absence
Professionals in the fields of health, juvenile justice, education and social work, come together to discuss fatherhood related issues and hear about innovative practices.
Children's Institute, Inc. (CII), nationally recognized for its work with children who have been traumatized by violence, abuse and neglect, brought together noted experts for a one-day conference at the University of Southern California to explore the pivotal role of fathers in the health and well-being of children.
CII's Senior Vice President and Founder of the agency's Project Fatherhood, Dr. Hershel Swinger, joined conference keynote speakers Judge Greg Mathis, a nationally recognized courtroom television personality who works with families in crisis; Dr. Ken Canfield, founder of the National Center for Fathering; and more than a dozen workshop presenters to discuss effective programs and ways to engage fathers.
Research shows that an absent father is a more reliable predictor of criminal behavior than race, environment or poverty. Without their fathers, children are more likely to be poor, use drugs and be incarcerated. To address this critical issue, CIII launched Project Fatherhood in 1996 to give low income, culturally diverse fathers the support and tools they need to participate actively in raising their children. With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, CII is now providing small grants to community-based agencies to replicate the federally designated model program throughout Los Angeles.
"We believe that all fathers can and do love their children and want the best for them," says Dr. Swinger. "However, while fatherhood is a near universal experience for men, the knowledge and skills that fathers bring to parenting vary dramatically. We're working to build those skills so they can support their children's healthy physical, emotional and cognitive development."
Conference attendees heard from a wide range of experts on topics such as, integrating fatherhood programs in culturally diverse communities; working with teen, ex-gang and incarcerated fathers; the role of the church in delivering fatherhood services; and overcoming the barriers facing homeless fathers.
Â Children's Institute, Inc. helps children who have been traumatized by violence in their homes or communities. Since 1906, CII has served high-risk children and families in some of Los Angeles' most devastated neighborhoods. CII now serves more than 17,000 children and families and trains more than 6,000 professionals each year.