Sixteen years ago, Dr. Hershel Swinger of the Children's Institute created Project Fatherhood. Dr. Swinger passed last year, but his goal in 1996 was as clear as it is with the program today – find ways to re-engage low-income fathers, particularly in urban settings, in the care and upbringing of their children. Through therapy, support, parenting education and other services, fathers learn to be more loving, responsible parents and active participants in their children’s lives.
For the past five years the Children's Institute has hosted the Fatherhood Solutions Conference to celebrate fathers and explore innovative strategies for increasing their involvement in the lives of their families. On June 15th, the 5th annual conference took place and was a major success. The theme for the conference was "Strengthening Relationships Between Fathers and Their Children." The conference was aimed to both celebrate fatherhood and raise greater awareness of the critical issues facing high risk fathers who want to be better parents to their children. The conference gathered an audience of over 400 Los Angeles based community service providers including probation, officers, social workers, policy advocates, government representatives, mental health professionals, public health professionals, and concerned community members.
The Children's Mental Health Network is solidly behind efforts that promote the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children and families. If you are involved in a "father focused initiative" let us know. And by all means, contact the Children's Institute if you are looking to do something like this in your community.