This holiday season, let us be inspired by Charles Dickens’ character Bob Cratchit for his demonstration of proactive, hands-on fatherhood. This beloved guy from A Christmas Carole knew he made a difference in his children’s lives, despite having to face down difficult parenting obstacles. (These would certainly include his difficult boss and limited income, not to mention his youngest child’s health problems.) In keeping with the Bob Cratchit example, we are highlighting the work of the FATHER Project, whose “mission is to assist fathers in overcoming the barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally.”
Ramsey County Child Support has partnered with the FATHER Project to support the financial and emotional involvement of fathers. An outgrowth of Goodwill –Easter Seals, the FATHER Project provides parenting and support groups, one-on-one advocacy and case management, GED services, employment services, father and family activities, child support services, and legal workshops through Central Minnesota Legal Services. According to this article published last month in The Star Tribune, the average father in Ramsey County’s Child Support system owes about $16,000. Predictably, some fathers get discouraged by their mounting debt and give up. Similarly, tools used to collect child support have typically been penalty-focused, such as revoking driver’s licenses. Thus, the FATHER Project aims to keep dads encouraged and on track by guiding them through the system and providing them with the right services to support them as parents. The program accepts dads between ages 17 and 35 who are low-income and unemployed or underemployed.
Also see the Father Project on Facebook.