The Father Factor

How Organizations Use NFI’s Newest Brochure to Reconnect Dads and Children

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Mar 21, 2019

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“Redemption through Reconnection.”

That’s the benefit of reconnecting with children as seen through the eyes of so many dads who’ve been absent from the lives of their children.

“How to Connect with Your Minor Child After a Long Absence” is the new brochure from National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) that helps our partners across the country address two of the most common questions that they get from dads:

  • Do you have advice for me on connecting with my child, a child I’ve never known and who doesn’t know me?
  • Do you have advice for me on reconnecting with my child, a child I haven’t seen for many years?

Available in English and Spanish, this brochure:

  • Educates dads on two stages they must pass through—with associated steps in each stage—to successfully connect with their child (under age 18) for the first time or to reconnect if once connected.
  • Helps him learn not only what he must do but how he must do it—a process that will give him the best chance to succeed in connecting.

We released the brochure in July of 2018. It’s flown off our shelves. To discover why, I interviewed a diverse set of NFI partners and learned that it has proven to be a flexible, valuable resource. These partners use it:

  • As a conversation starter during one-on-one discussions with dads.
  • To supplement a fatherhood program, such as 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad®. They integrate it into sessions with topics that mesh well with the content in the brochure (e.g. communication and co-parenting).
  • To supplement parenting and visitation plans.
  • Place it in display racks in lobbies and staff offices.

In the words of our partners…

“It really gets to the point about how to make the first contact, how to connect with mom, and how to meet with mom. It helps dads understand that we (the court) can’t just go in and take your child out of their home environment to connect with you. You have to take the first step, slowly, to reconnect. We’re seeing a lot of more filings for parenting time from dads, and I think it has a lot to do with this brochure.”

—Abel Munoz, Van Buren Friend of the Court (Paw Paw, MI) 

We use it regularly with InsideOut Dad® in a transitional correctional facility. I really like it for use during the session on how to get to know your child better. We go through the brochure with them. The facility where we run it is one in which dads are in the last year of their sentence—they’re out in 6-12 months—transitioning from state facilities. So, this is a topic they’re concerned about. The brochure serves as a bridge between dads being able to use what they learn inInsideOut Dad® and being able to connect with their child and use it. I also give it to the dads in 24/7 Dad®, particularly who are noncustodial and have concerns about connecting with their children.”

—Ward Williams, Vineyard Family Services (Alabaster, AL)

“In one of the 24/7 Dad® sessions, we go through the brochure. We usually integrate it with the co-parenting session. A lot of dads have been away from their kids for quite a while. Some dads have come here from prison and have had an extensive sentence. We often hear that they don’t know how to reconnect after they’ve been gone for so long. They don’t have an idea of where to start to make that connection. The brochure gives them some ideas. The really important part is being on same page as mom to start to make that connection. They have enjoyed the brochure because it gives them that first step.”    

 —Chris Slone, Star Community Justice Center (Franklin Furnace, OH)

“We put them out in the lobby area in each of our two facilities. One houses our therapists who work with kids up to age 18. The other houses our other programming. When we have a dad who has been separated, we use the content in the brochure to start a conversation about reconnecting. In our building, we have parent educators who do home visits and go to classes and speak. They give out the brochure, when appropriate. Whenever the issue of reuniting comes up in our parenting classes, including with parents in prison, this brochure is our blueprint for discussing strategies to help them connect.”

—David Magollon, Child Parent Institute (Santa Rosa, CA)

If you serve dads who long to reconnect with their children, please join these and other NFI partners in using this flexible, valuable resource. You can preview the entire content of the brochure here. Just click on the small thumbnail images of the brochure's content, which appear below the main image of its cover.

Would you like to help dads reconnect with their children?

Do any of the dads you serve struggle with the “how to” of reconnection?

he Benefits of Fatherhood Programs in Community-Based Organizations

Topics: Featured, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, Success Stories

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