“When I found out I was going to be a father [at 21], I had to make some conscious decisions about my behavior. I soon found out that I couldn’t afford to buy both liquor and diapers.” – Andre Dandridge, NewYoungFathers.com
Responsible fatherhood programs have the potential to have a dramatic, positive influence on the lives of program participants and their children and extended families. Because young fathers are still at early stages of their own development, there are few places where the potential for impacting positive change is clearer than when working with young fathers (ages 16 to 25).
Young fathers often face issues that are similar to fathers who have children later in life, but with concerns and challenges specific to their age. All fathers living apart from their children must interact with the child support system, but child support issues for young fathers can be especially challenging as they navigate school, new careers, and keeping up with payments. Healthy relationships are critical for all co-parents, but are especially crucial for young fathers who may be navigating changing relationships with the mother of their child, relationships with both of their extended families, and other romantic relationships.
The Working with Young Fathers section of the Responsible Fatherhood Toolkit provides resources and information to bolster services for dads between the ages of 16 and 25. This includes promoting education and training, using social media, tips and examples from veteran practitioners, and spotlights on the Young Fathers of Santa Fe and NewYoungFathers.com programs.
If you are working with young fathers and have suggestions on resources to add to the Toolkit, or questions around working with young fathers that are not addressed here, please contact us!
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse