The Engaging Fathers Investment is an initiative seeking solutions to the stigmas and barriers that at-risk fathers across Los Angeles County face daily, affecting their ability to support and connect with their children prenatal to age 5. Efforts include outreach to systems that regularly engage with these fathers who are at-risk of, involved in, or transitioning out of foster care or probation with the intent of helping them further their education, obtain stable employment, or become more positively engaged as a parent and caregiver.
On Nov. 14, 2013 the First 5 LA Board of Commissioners approved $600,000 for a two-year, three-part Engaging Fathers initiative that 1) seeks to transform an entire city to become father friendly, 2) train child welfare social workers to better engage fathers, and 3) advance systems change to improve practices that enhance the parenting practices of formerly incarcerated fathers re-entering society.
The effort complemented direct service funding from The Office of Family Assistance’s (OFA) New Pathways for Fathers and Families and sought to improve service coordination among providers, revise child support policies to be father-friendly, implement co-parenting mandates to support fatherhood engagement, address stigmas associated with at-risk fathers, and provide fathers with trauma-informed care programming.
As a result, First 5 LA submitted an executive report to the OFA, providing context on our combined efforts to address issues with direct services, policies and systems change, and ultimately leading to initiation of the Engaging Fathers Consortium for all of L.A. County.
The Consortium is a collective body of dedicated and knowledgeable field experts, and professionals with unique knowledge, insight, and experience in the areas of fatherhood. Collectively they seek to impact systems, policies and practices by advocating for county-wide improvements that are inclusive of fathers, and affirm a father’s identity, familial role, value and contribution to their children, family, and community.