Kansas Children's Service League
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Fatherhood Involvement
Father involvement makes a real difference. Whether the outcome is intellectual development, role development or psychological development, most children do better when their relationship with Dad is close and warm, whether Dad lives with them or not. Research shows:
  • School-aged children of involved fathers are better academic achievers. They are more likely to get A’s, have better quantitative and verbal skill. (Bing, 1963; Goldstein, 1982; Radin 1982)
  • Children of involved fathers are more likely to become educationally mobile young adults with higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success and psychological well being. (Amato, 1994; Barber& Thomas, 1986; Barnett, Marshall & Pleck 1992)
  • Young adults, who had nurturing and available fathers while growing up, are more likely to score high on measures of self acceptance and personal and social adjustment. (Fish & Biller, 1973)
  • Children of involved fathers are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress and frustration. (Mischel, Shoda, & Peake, 1988)
  • Father warmth and nurturance significantly predicts children’s moral maturity, is associated with more pro-social and positive moral behavior in boys and girls. (Mosley & Thompson, 1995)
Key leadership roles KCSL has taken include:
  • Kansas Parent Leadership Conference (PLC) – KCSL holds a “key” role in the development and implementation of the annual Kansas Parent Leadership Conference which is attended by over 250 parents and practitioners. In 2010, KCSL advocated to offer a “fatherhood track” at the PLC which proved to be highly successful with the “fatherhood track” being the highest attended workshops of the conference.
  • Kansas Fatherhood Coalition (KFC) – KCSL is an active member of the KFC, holding positions as committee chairs and members, providing information on fatherhood programs and services available and offering information on innovative opportunities in the field of fatherhood to other agency members.
  • Legislative Hearings – KCSL has sponsored fathers to speak at legislative hearings in the support of the enactment of future “fatherhood programs” by the state.
  • The Kansas Statewide Parent Leadership Advisory Council – In collaboration with Kansas University, KCSL is developing the Statewide Parent Leadership Advisory Council whose role will be to provide guidance and direction to the Strengthening Families Initiative Leadership Team, the Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Kansas Parent Leadership Conference. Several fathers have been selected to be members of the Council to ensure the fatherhood perspective will be reflected.
  • The National Family Preservation Network and the national Circle of Parents® organization have recognized Kansas as the lead state nationally in “Best Practices” in their work in Fatherhood, largely due to the Fatherhood model developed by the Kansas Children’s Service League.
KCSL has set an agency priority in their strategic plan to create a “father friendly environment,” which encourages and includes fathers’ participation in program services and support by:
  • Encouraging the healthy development of the father-child relationship in all programs and services.
  • Encouraging other agencies and organizations to work effectively with fathers such as healthcare, hospitals, businesses and law enforcement.
  • Participating in a coalition of organizations and leaders that promotes responsible fatherhood statewide.
  • Taking leadership steps to share best practices in working with fathers with other organizations.
  • Surveying fathers on a regular basis to determine their needs, concerns and interests and help shape current and future programs and services.
  • Utilizing father-specific curriculum and strategies designed to encourage father involvement in KCSL’s Head Start, Early Head Start and Healthy Families America programs.
  • Working with the KCSL Staff Council to implement “father-friendly” environments which help to make fathers feel welcomed and encouraged to participate in agency programs and services.
  • Committing to fathers’ leadership roles in the agency’s programs and services as coordinators, support group facilitators, fatherhood advisory councils and in local and state task coalitions and task forces.
The National Circle of Parents “Partners for Kids: United Hands Make the Best Families” model targets home-visitation programs. The fatherhood initiative model used by KCSL in their role with the fatherhood initiative includes:
  • Fatherhood Advisory Councils: a community model designed to create the substantiality of the promotion and embracement of fatherhood within the community. Comprised of both practitioners and parents, the council becomes the enduring promoter, supporter and community entity which guides efforts for fatherhood within the programs and services offered in the community.
  • “Conscious Fathering” Classes: an evidence-based training program, which provides fathers the opportunity to learn their newborn baby’s five basic needs, keys to how babies communicate, how to not only meet their baby’s needs but anticipate them and the importance of developing a healthy, positive relationship with the baby’s mother.
  • Kansas Circle of Parents® “Adventures in Fathering: a national evidence based mutual self-help model which provides fathers the opportunity to network and is based on the “five protective factors” essential to strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect - nurturing, parental resilience, child and youth development, solid social connections and concrete supports.
  • Fatherhood Summit Meetings: a community awareness model which brings together fathers and community partners to network, learn about the importance of fatherhood and lay the “stepping stones” to promote and embrace fatherhood in the community.
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