Paying more attention to fathers within the state's child services programs is paying off in dividends. Not only are children better off with both parents involved in their lives, but research is showing that the mothers are also less depressed, and emotionally and socially happier. Fewer children have to be placed in foster care and fathers are taking a more active role in the raising of their children, through new initiatives from child services.
A new program called FameFathers is part of the state's new Fatherhood Initiative and funded by the Ohio Fatherhood Commission in Columbus. In addition to helping fathers be better dads, the state is discovering a financial benefit because fathers or paternal families are taking custody of the children instead of having to place them in foster care.
In years past, fathers were usually considered a bother and often an afterthought. Dads generally were not involved or even invited to meetings at children services. The child welfare system was truly focused only on mothers. Since asking for fathers to be included in making decisions for the child, the system has had to change its approach to custody cases.
Just in the first quarter of this year alone, the number of fathers involved in family meetings at child services increased 26 percent over last year. The new initiative helps keep families working together and break the cycle that has been handed down for several generations in some instances.
Watch for new research from the University of Cincinnati in the Journal of Social Service Research proving children and their mothers are much more successful with active fathers in their lives.
When unmarried couples have children, fathers have to go through the court system to establish paternity to successfully enforce any of their physical and legal rights to their children.
Source: ohio.com, "Summit County Children Services shifts focus onto fathers," Rick Armon, June 16, 2012