In 2021, PEACE, Inc. became the designated Central New York backbone agency for the statewide Fatherhood Initiative, an evidence-based initiative that assists single fathers with information and resources to help with child and family development.
Specifically, PEACE, Inc.’s Family Services Department introduced a Fatherhood Initiative Pilot Program at the agency’s South Side Family Resource Center (SSFRC). The agency collaborated with internal programs – including the Early Head Start/Head Start Program – and external regional partners for effective programming. PEACE, Inc.’s Family Navigator, Parent Engagement Coordinator, and Family Reentry Case Manager worked with Founder and Director of The Fatherhood Connection, whose curriculum guided the project. 9 young fathers and fathers-to-be were assisted, including individuals reentering society from incarceration and reuniting with their children. For 10 weeks, the initiative focused on topics such as defining love, healthy relationships, and parenting and co-parenting tips. One-on-one case management was offered for fathers seeking additional supports.
PEACE, Inc. Fatherhood Initiative members participated in a program coined for purpose, passion, and persistence. Participants reported that – amongst many program successes – they recognized and gained maturity; increased knowledge and confidence in handling family dynamics; developed a sense of “self-purpose” and value of fatherhood; and collectively acknowledged how cycles can be broken. One young client informed staff that, “I cannot wait for my child to be born, thank you for your resources” while another expressed love for his family, “I long to be with my son everyday…”
Family Services plans to launch the second group of the Fatherhood Initiative at the East Side Family Resource Center. To enhance services, the initiative will continue to work with the Fatherhood Connection, collaborate with the agency’s Early Head Start/Head Start program, and provide participants with program meals and child care supports.