ATLANTA (June 9, 2022)— Since April 2021, Fathers Incorporated (FI) has touched over 1600 dads in Metro Atlanta, seeking responsible fatherhood services. June 11 marked the 6th in-person celebration of Metro Atlanta dads completing 90% of the agency’s fatherhood and life skills curriculums. The graduation took place at Central Park in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward from 10 AM – 3:00 PM. (Followed by a family cookout to celebrate past graduates and families)
Fathers Incorporated received a $5M grant in October 2020 to provide Responsible Fatherhood Services in Metro Atlanta from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Family Assistance) through its Gentle Warriors Academy (GWA). Fathers Incorporated designed GWA to help adult fathers ages 18 and older incorporate practices and behaviors for managing the responsibilities of being parents/co-parents and partners through responsible parenting, healthy marriage/relationships, economic stability activities, and grant-funded participation through a 40-hr/6-week cohort-based approach.
These core areas are reinforced through GWA’s coordinated case management process and wrap-around services, which are tailored to help address obstacles that fathers and their families face on their journeys to attaining and maintaining healthy parental and partner relationships and program completion.
“Fathers Incorporated has been serving fathers nationally for over 18 years; we are excited to bring our national expertise in the field of responsible fatherhood to serve fathers and their families in Metro Atlanta,” shares CEO Kenneth Braswell.
The lack of father involvement strongly correlates with poverty, poor school performance, and risky behaviors. Research shows children with father involvement are more likely to perform better in school, are more emotionally secure, and are more likely to exhibit positive social behaviors. Additionally, children who grow up in single-parent families, which are more likely to be female-led, often do not have comparable socioeconomic resources to those who grow up in two-parent families.
“As the Board Chair, Pastor, Father, Husband, and formerly incarcerated Black Man, programs like this gave me the tools to reach my highest potential. At a time where there is such a negative narrative surrounding black men and fathers, it’s comforting to see a contradiction of those perceptions,” says Bishop Darren Ferguson, Board Chair of Fathers Incorporated.
Many fathers who enroll in the GWA will likely struggle to meet their child support obligations, legitimation issues, custody, and parenting time. Furthermore, the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing problems or barriers connected to marriage/relationships, responsible parenting, and economic stability.
Javin Foreman, the Project Director, adds, “While national conversations are taking place about many issues, this grant provides a major opportunity to impact one of the most underserved populations in the nation, and certainly Atlanta. This cohort and the prior five cohorts of fathers are often seen as the problem and sadly not explored as part of the solution for many societal issues.”
The GWA program targets fathers living in disadvantaged areas aged 18 and over with children ages 24 and under who reside in the following Metro Atlanta counties: Fulton County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, Clayton County, Henry County, and Rockdale County.
For more information on the work of Fathers Incorporated, visit http://www.fathersincorporated.com.