To borrow from the British pop group The Beatles, we all get by with a little help from our friends. Fatherhood programs call them partners. Whatever the name, we are all stronger when we come together.
This January, the NRFC team had the opportunity to spend three days in Los Angeles seeing exceptional examples of what can happen for our communities and families when we partner and work together.
This two-part series will feature the programs we were able to visit and the events we were privileged to be a part of.
Part One: The Programs
As part of the NRFC’s visit to Los Angeles, we visited two Office of Family Assistance Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood grantee programs. The first visit was to Friends Outside in Los Angeles County, where we met with program staff and participants at the South Bay One-Stop Business & Career Center Inglewood. Friends Outside works with children and families, prisoners, and former prisoners with the immediate and long-term goal of reducing incarceration. The program acts as a bridge between those they serve and the community. One of the keys to success for Friends Outside has been their partnerships. Being able to co-locate their services with partners in the community, such as their work with the South Bay One-Stop allows them to directly connect their clients to critical support resources. As part of their employment training, Friends Outside works with a network of nonprofit partners in LA that focus on helping support individuals returning from prison in job preparedness. The partnership connects individuals to the skills and resources to obtain employment, employers to prepared and dedicated employees, and the partner organizations to each other.
Our visit to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) was another great example of partnerships. While the Hospital has a number of outside partners, their partnerships within the hospital allow them to provide wrap-around supports to their fathers. The L.A. Fathers Program serves young fathers (between the ages of 15 and 25) and their Project NATEEN serves pregnant and parenting teen parents. Case managers assess and support the needs of fathers as they enter the program and throughout their involvement – which doesn’t have to end at the conclusion of the initial curriculum. Among other services, the hospital has a food pantry, a supply of clothes (including diapers), a clinic, and mental health team that are available to support every father that enters the program. The L.A. Fathers Program staff partner with the hospital’s research and evaluation team to provide tracking and reporting to support the ongoing assessment of participants to make sure to meet their needs with the services provided.
Both Friends Outside and CHLA also had a key partnership in common. One that the participants of the program and the staff are quick to point out: the partnership between the staff and the fathers. Staff have a genuine interest in and care about the lives of each man (and woman) that walk through their doors. They show a commitment to the individual’s needs and treat them with respect, love, and honesty. In return, they often get the same. Program participants commit not only to the programs, but to themselves and to each other, providing ongoing and critical support through not only the initial program but, for many, for weeks and months after.
Learn more about these OFA-funded programs online, and check back in the coming weeks for more features on OFA Success Stories.
- Children’s Institute, Inc.: Project Fatherhood
- Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
- Friends Outside in Los Angeles County
- Healthy Relationships California
Check back next week to read Part Two: The Events.
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse