Joe Jones began working with Baltimore fathers as a city health department social worker in 1993. With support from city government leaders, particularly the health commissioner, Jones built a fatherhood program as part of the department’s Healthy Start program and eventually spun it off as an independent nonprofit organization. Now firmly established in the community as the Center for Urban Families, the program provides training and support in parenting, relationships, and employment. In addition to Jones’s drive, passion, and organizational ability, the program’s success has been built with skilled staff with long tenure, input and support from an active board, effective community partnerships, successful client outcomes, and local foundation support.
Marvin Charles and his wife, Jeanett, founded Divine Alternatives for Dads (DADS) in their Seattle, WA, living room in 1998. They had been homeless, unemployed addicts and had lost several of their children to the foster care system before taking steps to become sober, find housing, and obtain steady employment. Since that time, they have successfully applied lessons learned during their own recovery to help others “put their families back together.” Their program focuses on helping fathers recover from addiction, return from prison, and deal with general difficulties of life. Key to their success has been effective partnerships with various community organizations and state agencies, including the state departments of Corrections, Social and Health Services, and Child Support; local employment agencies and public and private employers; King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and local courts; Atlantic Street Center, a community-based organization providing court-approved parenting classes; and Union Gospel Mission, which provides services for homeless individuals and families.1
Fathers and Families Center in Indianapolis was founded in 1993 as the Father Resource Program of Wishard Health Services. Under the leadership of Wallace McLaughlin since its inception, the center was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) agency in 1999 and has provided self-sufficiency and job readiness training, job placement, GED preparation, other educational support, and parenting education to thousands of young parents. As an Office of Family Assistance Healthy Marriage grantee since 2005, the organization has added services to assist couples build healthy relationship skills.
The FATHER Project began under the auspices of the city of Minneapolis in 1999 and has been part of Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota since 2004. An Office of Family Assistance grantee since 2005, The FATHER Project has served hundreds of fathers through an extensive network of partners. A return on investment study by the Wilder Foundation showed a long-term financial return of $3.41 for every dollar invested in the project. Evaluations have shown increases in parenting skills, educational achievement, job placement, and benefits for the children of participating families.