The Healthy Start Coalition was awarded a five-year grant from the Administration for Children & Families to provide comprehensive fatherhood services to dads in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.
The Coalition’s “Growing Responsible Fathers” program will strengthen and expand responsible fatherhood, employment, housing, health care, mentoring and recidivism reduction services through case management, referrals and group classes.
The Coalition established fatherhood as a priority in 2009-2014 Service Delivery Plan. Due to the growing need for Fatherhood Responsibility and its impact on Maternal Child Health, the Coalition has developed a Fatherhood Initiative Task Force for Northeast Florida region and plans to collaborate with area fatherhood providers. The program will build on the foundations established by the Coalition and the Florida Department of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement Department’s “Bringing Relief, Education and Assets to Children and their Household” Project (BREACH), which ceased services in August 2014.
The needs of referred fathers will be assessed and addressed through a three-tier case management system, that will include a text message personalized education and reminder system, peer mentorship, group classes and a variety of community referrals, including but not limited to financial literacy classes through Real$ense, employment assistance through the Jacksonville Urban League, fatherhood training using evidence-based curricula from the National Fatherhood Initiative and more.
Program and partner agency staff will also receive training on domestic violence and preventing, detecting and reporting child abuse. The Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives at the University of North Florida will serve as local project evaluator.
Beginning October 1, families enrolled in the Florida KidCare full-pay program will be shifted to Affordable Care Act-compliant plans with premiums up to 95 percent higher than the previous plans.
The cost of the subsidized Florida KidCare plans — for those families under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level — will remain the same ($0, $15 or $20 per month), although the available providers may change. The increase in premiums impacts coverage for children in families with income exceeding 200 percent of the FPL— an amount greater than $48,500 for a family of four.
Six barbershops and dozens of families came together on August 9th to bring awareness to infant mortality and have fun before the start of the school year at the Barbers for Babies Infant Mortality and Back to School Jam.
The local barber shops participated in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the Woodland Acres Boys and Girls Club in Arlington. In addition to basketball, the first 200 school-aged children that attended where given books bags filled with school supplies to get them ready to start the school year. Long-time Barber for Babies member JD Upson, of the The Cut Above barbershop, manned the grill.
Throughout the event, information about infant mortality and ways to prevent it were announced to the crowd. Participants also had a chance to check out information from The Magnolia Project, Jacksonville Children’s Commission, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health, the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida and Molina Healthcare during the health fair.
At the end of the day a special plaque was given to the family of Winston Thompson Sr., who passed away earlier in the year. He was a champion for Barbers for Babies and was a volunteer for the Coalition for more than four years.
Fathers play an important role in their children’s lives but this population lacks a comprehensive, coordinated effort to sufficiently address the significant and far-reaching challenges that men in the community face. As a result of this gap, and to ensure children grow up with a responsible father in their life, the Coalition launched a new community-wide NEFL Fatherhood Task Force this month.
The Coalition’s Fatherhood Initiative hosted the first meeting on August 12th. Community-based organization’s (CBOs) serving fathers and the families met to provide support and discuss the formation of the Task Force. Rev. Tom Rodgers, an officer of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, serves as chair of the Task Force. Participating organizations include Operation New Hope, the Department of Revenue — Child Support Services, the Department of Children and Families, Project SOS, Family Support Services of North Florida, Three Rivers Legal Services, Jacksonville Re-Entry Center, Gateway Community Services, United Way-Real Sense and Jacksonville Sheriff Office Community Transition Center.
The key function of the Task Force is to focus the collective fatherhood expertise, training and resources of Jacksonville’s fatherhood programs on targeted projects supporting fathers. The mission of the Task Force is “To significantly increase the number of children in and around Jacksonville that grow up with a responsible father in their lives.”
A SWOT analysis was conducted to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat of all of the combined fatherhood programming in Jacksonville. Meaningful information was generated for each category and several useful themes emerged from the analysis that will be discussed to formulate a plan of action at the next scheduled task force meeting on September 9.
Until further notice, the Task Force will meet the second Wednesday of every month at 11:00 am at the Magnolia Project, 5300 N. Pearl St. Jacksonville, FL 32208.
Congratulations to the winner of our Father’s Day Photo Contest, Cathy Dupont! Cathy shared this picture of father and son, Nicholas Sr. and Jr.:
Thank you to everyone who submitted photos! Fathers and father figures play an important role in their children’s lives. So we loved seeing all the great pictures of dads and we encourage you to celebrate dads EVERY day!