Since 1966, ADVOCAP has implemented innovative programs which create opportunities for people and communities to reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency. ADVOCAP’s Father & Family Stability Project is one such initiative which recognizes that fathers are an important part of a child’s life and the stability of their familiesWhile there are many significant issues in increasing the positive role modeling and interaction between fathers and their children, ADVOCAP believes one of the key issues centers on economic self-sufficiency. Building on father involvement efforts through ADVOCAP’s Head Start Program and over forty-five years of helping families move out of poverty, ADVOCAP launched a comprehensive fatherhood program in late 2011.
Like most father engagement programs, ADVOCAP delivers training on responsible fatherhood, life skills competencies, and arranges opportunities for fathers to be involved with their children. However, ADVOCAP structured the core of its fatherhood program around employment and training as a primary way to make it possible for fathers to have a significant impact on their children’s lives. One-on-one GED/HSED instruction, paid work experience, occupational training, employer incentives, and job placement and retention assistance are key components to the project’s success.
Now, entering its third year, ADVOCAP’s Father& Family Stability Project has provided intensive services for 90 low income fathers having multiple barriers to self sufficiency. Another 100+ fathers, not enrolled in the project, have also benefitted from father/child events in the community organized by the project. Fathers and their families are working their way out of poverty:
- 23 Fathers received their GED/HSED Certification
- 12 Fathers completed occupational skills training
- 48 Fathers secured unsubsidized employment
- 21 Fathers obtained benefits through their employer
- 52 Fathers indicate increased engagement with their children
A three-year demonstration grant from the DHHS/Administration for Children and Families provides funding, staff training and technical assistance. In keeping with long-standing Community Action values, fathers from the program are involved on the program’s advisory committee with representatives from key partner agencies such as UW-Extension, Head Start, Child Support, Workforce Development, Family Resource Centers, and County DHS.
“Fathers are an important part of a child’s life, and their active participation in that child’s life has a profound effect on ending the cycle of poverty.”
Michael Bonertz, ADVOCAP Executive Director