When it comes to teen health , it seems that fathers are often left out of the equation. There are many resources available to women and their children, but often fathers are kept out of the picture. One reason for this is the social norm that fathers work and are often not available to help care for the well being of the family.
However, there are a number of organizations throughout the country that are focusing on men and their role as parents. Part of this initiative was prompted by recent studies on the effects of the absence of fathers in the family. Studies reveal that children and teens who grow up without fathers are more likely to live in poverty, participate in substance abuse, experience truancy from school or drop out, develop emotional or behavioral problems, or be incarcerated. Yet, with the presence of participating fathers who are nurturing and loving in a family structure, children have more of a chance of thriving and living in health.
For this reason, community resources are looking at ways to strengthen the relationships within families, both between parents as well as the relationship parents have with their children. One organization doing this is the Children’s Institute, Inc. of Los Angeles (CII). Their aim is to assist the families who experience violence and to strengthen their relationships so that violence is no longer a part of their daily experience. In fact, CII calls the level of family violence in LA a “crisis” providing the following statistics on their website:
- In Los Angeles, violence is a daily fact of life.
- 50,000 reports of child abuse/neglect are filed annually
- The level of abuse reports are estimated to be 400 a day, 17 an hour.
- Police respond to 43,000 reports of domestic violence, many involving children.
Their initiative called “Fatherhood” is meant to aide in the building of relationships between fathers and their children, as well as the relationships they have with their spouses. They offer the following services:
- 21Men in Relationship Groups (MIRG) throughout the greater Los Angeles County. Participation in the program and childcare are free of cost.
- Year around, open-ended groups; allowing fathers to attend groups as necessary.
- Relationship/Communication workshops are offered to fathers and their significant others
- counseling services
- employment assistance
- financial literacy
- legal consultation
- parent-child enrichment activities
- Individual care coordination is provided to the fathers to help navigate systems and find community resources.
Also, other Los Angeles resources for fathers include:
- National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute
- National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
- The President’s Fatherhood Initiative
- Responsible Fatherhood Roundtable Event
- Elements of Promising Practice in Teen Fatherhood Programs
- Young Dads Program, Friends of the Family
- Project Fatherhood,
- Operation Life,
- Fatherhood Journey
- 24/7 Dad Youth Speak Collective
- Positive Parenting for Padres
- My Child Says Daddy
If you are a father of a teen and you’re eager to support the well being of your family, you don’t have to be left out. Fathers need family support too, and with these resources, you can find that support in your community.