Senate committee hears testimony on Michigan fatherhood initiatives
LANSING - In recognition of February as Responsible Fatherhood Awareness Month, the Senate Families and Human Services Committee discussed Tuesday the status of various fatherhood initiatives in Michigan, said Sen. Randy Richardville.
"It is important for children to have a strong father figure in their lives," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "One of the best indicators of a child's long-term success is the level of parental involvement. Michigan is fortunate to have projects that encourage fathers to develop strong, positive relationships with their children."
Victoria Brown of El Shaddai Counseling and Consultation Services in Monroe and Sen. Richardville testified about the Proud Fathers program in Monroe County and its impact on the community.
"There are so many programs available for women," said Brown. "This is a unique program that targets fathers to highlight the importance of the role of the male in the lives of their children."
Proud Fathers, funded by the Department of Human Services, is a 14-week group-based series for fathers or other male caretakers of children that stresses the importance of nurturing relationships between parents and children as well as family self-sufficiency.
In addition to helping the general public, El Shaddai collaborates with the Monroe County Youth Center to offer the Proud Fathers program to incarcerated youth who have children or those who plan on having children in the future.
"Separation from parents in prison can be devastating to children so working with this specific group of fathers is especially important," Richardville said.
Fathers who actively participate in the lives of their children reduce the risks of childhood poverty, child mental illness, juvenile delinquency, youth sexual activity, teenage pregnancies, substance abuse, and failure to complete high school.
The next Proud Fathers program will begin on March 1, 2008. For more information, contact Victoria Brown at 734-240-0372 or visit www.elshaddaicc.com.
Editor's note: A photograph of Sen. Richardville and Victoria Brown testifying before the committee is available on the Senate Majority Photowire, located at: http://www.MISenateGOP.com/photowire.asp?District=17
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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