Several Duval County dads were honored for their commitment to supporting their children and family as part of the June Honor a Father campaign, sponsored by the Florida Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative and Florida Department of Children and Families.
Learn more about all 16 fathers honored here.
Todd Cook, part of the Magnolia Project, was nominated for his eagerness to care for his son and the child’s mother, as well as his advocacy for his son’s health issues.
Brandon Massey, part of Healthy Start through the Florida Department of Health, Duval County Health Department, was nominated for his desire to learn as much as possible about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting to support his son and the child’s mother.
Each father will receive a congratulatory letter from former NFL coach Tony Dungy, an award certificate and All-Pro Dad t-shirt, while nominating agencies will receive a New Parent Support Package from the National Fatherhood Initiative to support their father engagement efforts. Fathers who participated in a home visiting or other early childhood prevention program during the last year were eligible for nomination.
Standing in Hemming Plaza in downtown Jacksonville the day before Father’s Day, more than 50 dads recited a pledge — committing to be the best dad they can be.
The pledge was part of E3 Business Group — North Florida Chapter’s “E3 Celebrates Fathers” event, held in conjunction with the national Fatherhood Buzz initiative.
As part of the celebration, attendees marched from the E3 Center for Entrepreneur Development to Hemming Plaza. Many fathers who came brought their children with them.
Coalition Fatherhood Coordinator Jack Johnson spoke at the event, encouraging fathers to be active in their children’s lives. The event concluded with fathers reciting the pledge.
The Florida Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement BREACH Project will end August 29, 2014. Family Court Judges and Hearing Officers have been instructed to stop court ordering fathers to the program to allow staff time for close-out. The last group of fathers started on May 29, 2014 and will complete the project on July 17, 2014. Plans are in the works, however, to implement a similar program.
Since starting back in August 2011, over 400 fathers have signed-up for the Bringing Relief, Education and Assets to Children and their Household (BREACH) program to take advantage of these great incentives:
- Reinstatement of driver’s license
- Delaying of enforcement actions
- Modification of support order, if warranted
- Preventing the seizing of assets
- Financial literacy training
- Establishing a saving account and matching deposit 2-for-1
- Fatherhood initiative education training to strengthen the bond between parent and child
- Develop a repayment plan for arrearage
- Possible debt compromise on child support arrears owed to the state
The program was evaluated twice by the Federal Assets for Independence (FAFI) Services to measure the projects impact on noncustodial fathers and their understanding of the importance of reaching personal financial goals by managing personal finances and achieving financial self-sufficiency so that their dependent children can also experience financial and economic well being. Both evaluations revealed that not only is the program well known throughout the Duval community and the Department of Revenue, but it’s highly successful as well:
- 70 percent of project fathers completed Fatherhood Initiative Training
- Pre & Post Test Survey data indicates a significant increase in father’s knowledge surrounding a father’s role in the family, building better relationships and positive co-parenting techniques.
- 87 percent of the fathers participating in the project are consistently making monthly payments and continue to maintain a healthy relationship with their children.
- Judges reported that after completing the program, recidivism rates for fathers being incarcerated for nonpayment of child support/arrearages have reduced since the start of the program.
The Coalition’s Responsible Fatherhood Initiative was contacted by and is meeting with the Duval County Family Court, Department of Revenue, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and several associated law firms to help develop a program which would continue the much needed BREACH services to the fathers. There are approximately 24,000 child support cases in Duval and Nassau counties with delinquencies. About 10 percent of these will be reviewed for associated parent incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The activities offered as part of the project can be replicated in other programs easily.
The consensus of the community and participants is: The program works!! The fatherhood training helps fathers not only to focus their attention back on their child (ren) but also helps them deal with displaced anger and other negative, unhealthy feelings. The fatherhood classes provide fathers with a positive manly atmosphere where they can vent and share their personal issues and provide and receive positive feedback and support from other fathers who are struggling with similar financial or family issues. Through the fatherhood classes, fathers are rediscovering their role in the lives of their children and genuinely accepting responsibility/accountability to raise healthier and happier children.
In honor of Father’s Day, E3 Business Group’s North Florida Chapter is holding a celebration of fathers as part of the national Fatherhood Buzz initiative. The event is June 14 from 10am to noon.
The celebration will include a march from the E3 Center for Entrepreneur Development to Hemming Plaza, “Men of Motivation” speakers, a word from Mayor Alvin Brown and more. Coalition Fatherhood Coordinator Jack Johnson will be one of the featured speakers at the event.
Barbershops, salons, fraternities, churches and “man caves” are encouraged to participate. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 6th Annual Man Up 2014: Health Summit will feature a free screening on the documentary, “Spit’in Anger“, which looks at the impact of a father’s absence on young black males. Documentary creator Kenneth Braswell will be in attendance to talk to the audience about the film.
- When: Friday June 27th. Reception starts at 6 pm, the viewing begins at 7 pm
- Where: FSCJ Downtown Campus Auditorium A1068, 101 W. State St., Jacksonville, FL 32202
Register for the event here.
Fathers play an important role in a family. Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care & more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Studies show that children with early father involvement are more likely to be and stay healthy. The Healthy Start Coalition conducts responsible fatherhood and new dad classes throughout the community.
The Coalition has partnered with Braswell to bring his documentary to Northeast Florida. Braswell is the executive director of Fathers Incorporated, a national organization that focuses on developing support services for fathers.
The Health Summit for men and boys will take place at the FSCJ Advanced Technology Center all day Saturday, June 28th. This event will feature Former NBA Star Dominique Wilkins and a cooking demonstration brought to you by Novo Nordisk, in addition to free health screenings, haircuts, health and wellness workshops and more. The event is organized by the Healthy Jacksonville Men’s Health Coalition.