Helping fathers be better dads
A program developed by the Center for Families to help young Indiana fathers
become good dads has grown into a national success.
among Center for Families goals
It's My Child, Too, a parenting curriculum aimed at young, unwed fathers, is
administered by the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service.
Developed in 1994, the program is now being used by schools, community
centers and detention centers in 22 states.
"The goal of the program is for young fathers to recognize the important
role they play in the lives of their children," says Aadron Rausch,
extension specialist and assistant director of the Center for Families.
"We have found that fathers are more likely to be involved with their
children if they feel supported in their parenting role and if they feel
confident in their parenting abilities," she says.
The program is used largely by the court system for young fathers who are
delinquent in paying child support, but also has developed into a fathering
course for any young dad.
Curt Emanuel, an extension educator in Clinton County in Indiana, says many
of the young fathers he sees are involved in unpleasant situations with the
mothers of their children.
"Many times, these guys are the forgotten parent," Emanuel says. "They may
have been told they are losers, and many of them don't have anyone to talk
"They come to us and talk, and they learn things they've never learned about
children. We tell them they're valuable people, that they can be valuable to
their children. In general, they get a lot out of the program and hopefully
go back and get involved with their children in a positive manner."
It's My Child, Too addresses normal childhood behaviors and ways of dealing
with them, Rausch says.
"We need to help fathers who don't have experience with babies or children
understand their children," she says.
Michael Gotsch, past president of the Indiana Child Support Alliance and
deputy prosecuting attorney in St. Joseph County in Indiana, says programs
like It's My Child, Too can help strengthen families.
"It's my hope that fathers will bond with their children, and that these
young families will eventually come together as one," he says.
Story by Julie Rosa
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail, email@example.com
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