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Spotlight > Newport News City Jail Teaches 107 Men How To Be Better Dads

Posted by Ryan Sanders

We try to spotlight fatherhood programs we find in the news. This group is doing great work at the Newport News City Jail in a partnership between the Newport News Department of Human Services and the Newport News Sheriff's Office.

Hopefully, reading it will not only show you an example of what can happen when fathers learn how to be better dads, but it will remind you that your work matters. For this who don't currently serve fathers, perhaps you will be inspired to volunteer and help fathers in your city.

We talk about the father absence crisis in America and the challenge of Fathers Behind Bars, but for seven men in the Newport News City Jail, Father's Day came early this year. Read the following news story in full here.

Writing about the seven men in the Newport News City Jail who are learning how to be better dads using our InsideOut Dad® curriculum, the new story points out: They believe they’ll be better fathers because of a class offered to them behind bars.

They learned parenting skills and the importance of ‘being there’ for their children in the InsideOut Dad® fatherhood program, a staple of Sheriff Gabe Morgan’s re-entry program since 2013. The program is a partnership between the Newport News Department of Human Services and the Newport News Sheriff’s Office.

Twice a week for six weeks, they work on topics including:

  • self-awareness,
  • child development,
  • discipline,
  • spirituality,
  • handling emotions,
  • being a man and
  • relationships with their child’s mother

Caring for self, parenting skills, fathering skills and relationship skills are the five characteristics of an InsideOut Dad®.

Shawn O’Keefe, Youth Programs Specialist with the City of Newport News, teaches the course. He is a single father with primary physical custody of his two children so he wants to help other fathers be the best parents they can be. O’Keefe was trained to become a certified instructor by National Fatherhood Initiative, creator of the InsideOut Dad® program.

So far, 107 inmates in the
Newport News City Jail
have completed the program

“Since this is a voluntary program, the men who go through it are motivated to be successful fathers,”
O’Keefe explains. So far, 107 inmates in the Newport News City Jail have completed the program. As we point out due to InsideOut Dad® being evidenc-based, the curriculum helps reduce the number of men returning to jail by reconnecting incarcerated fathers to their families, providing the motivation to get out and stay out.

“This is a great program
because its results
are quantifiable.”

“This is a great program because its results are quantifiable,”
O’Keefe explains. He cited a 2011 Rutgers University study, which reviewed the program inside three New Jersey correctional facilities. It found that InsideOut Dad® works, noting “significant changes across confidence, knowledge, behavior, and attitude variables” when comparing results of 300 men who went through the program to a control group that did not. The organization believes “widespread fatherlessness is the most socially consequential problem of our time.”

Do you currently or have you ever worked with incarcerated fathers? 

iod_fhb_cvrWhether you work in corrections or are interested in volunteering to teach dads, download our free sample of InsideOut Dad®

InsideOut Dad® is the nation's only evidence-based fatherhood program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers.

Are you a dad looking for help or are you interested in volunteering to help a fatherhood program in your area? Please visit our Fatherhood Program Locator™ to find programs and resources near you. 

The Father Factor Blog

Topics: relationships, corrections, new dads, community-based, program success stories, fatherhood program tips, fatherhood in the news

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