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Helping Fathers in the Heartland: At-Risk Fathers

Helping Fathers in the Heartland: At-Risk Fathers

Here are Good Dads we are often asked, “What kids of dads do you help?” Good Dads is here to help all dads be more successful in connecting with their children. One of the ways we help dads of all kinds is through our New Pathways for Good Dads (NPGD) program for at-risk fathers.

The NPGD program was designed in response to a request from the State of Missouri. They asked for a proposal for a project to help under-resourced fathers. Any father residing in Missouri who is at or below 185% is eligible, but the primary focus of the program is on non-custodial fathers with child support concerns. New Pathways for Good Dads is designed to help a low-income, non-custodial dad make the necessary changes to be a responsible father who is actively engaged with his children. If has four primary components that include the following: 

Fatherhood Development Curriculum (22-23 hours/15 weeks)

  • Stress & Anger Management
  • Fatherhood Education
  • Child Development
  • Communication Skills
  • Co-Parenting

Relationship Skills Education (Within My Reach – 12 hours/8 weeks)

  • Smart Love
  • Recognizing Problem Behaviors
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills Training
  • Effects of Your Background
  • Decision Making
  • Hidden Issues and Danger Signs
  • Safe and Healthy Relationships

Employment: Assessment & Achievement

  • Job Assessment
  • Jobs-for-Life may be included in the program

Child Support Education, Training & Assistance

Child support can often be a confusing and frustrating area for non-custodial fathers. The NPGD program helps fathers with one-on-one consultation and practical assistance. It is focused on removing the barriers many fathers face in supporting their children.

The number and kinds of services a father receives depends on his needs. Some dads have child support concerns; some do not. Some are becoming new dads; others have been fathers for some time. Some are in a relationship with the mother of their child; others are doing it alone. 

Each father has an Individual Service Plan (ISP) designed to help him receive the maximum benefit from NPGD program. The average timeline for completion of NPGD is 6 months. However, depending on the ISP and class schedules, participants are allowed 18 months to complete the program.

Good Dads continues to expand the NPGD program with new classes starting throughout the region. Good Dads trains all facilitators to fully equip them with the knowledge and skills to lead classes. Good Dads has formed relationships with the Springfield Recovery Coalition, regional recovery programs and centers, judges, and probation and parole officers. As a result, many of our NPGD participants come to us through these avenues. Word of mouth, PSAs, print resources, web resources, and Good Dads Board and business partners are also excellent recruitment sources.

Questions to Consider: 

  • Would you want to include a New Pathways program at your Good Dads location?
  • Who might be a good partner for referrals to a program like NPGD in your community? 
  • Who might be willing to be a trained facilitator to teach the NPGD classes? 

For more information on how you can get a Good Dads program started in your community, let us know by going to www.gooddads.com and filling out our Helping Fathers in the Heartland interest form.

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Baker is the Founder & Executive Director of Good Dads. She can be reached for question or comment at [email protected]. You may also call the Good Dads office at (417) 501-8867.

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