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FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE

Our objective is to provide both fathers and mothers with fundamental skills necessary to contribute to the financial, emotional and social development of their children by promoting activities that encourage positive lifestyle changes. This targeted population often faces multiple barriers that prevent them from meeting their financial and emotional responsibilities to their children.

RAPP's Fatherhood Initiative focuses on providing services in the areas of Co-Parenting for Access and Visitation Assistance, Effective Parenting for Young Fathers, Needs
of Previously Incarcerated Persons, Counseling and Mentoring.  RAPP helps clients in overcoming, greatly reducing, and ultimately eliminating these barriers through its highly effective program services in the following areas:

(1) Access and Visitation Assistance Activities - includes supervised visitation, neutral drop-off and pick-up services, parenting, anger management and domestic violence classes and parental mediation that includes co-parenting agreements.  In collaboration with Guardians of the Children Rights Council, classes are conducted every Saturday from 10:00 a.m., 12:00 noon for 10 weeks at the Anthony Bowen YMCA located at 1325 W Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

(2) Effective Parenting for Young Fathers - training that is designed to offer assistance to fathers that allege unfair treatment by the courts and child custody decisions. The training places emphasis on fathers as nurturers, teachers, disciplinarians and role models.

(3) Needs of Previously Incarcerated Persons - ex-offender services assist clients in identifying their immediate needs after incarceration such as securing identification, providing job placement assistance, family stabilization, and obtaining clothing and food.  It also provides a mechanism for individuals to gain a better understanding of the short and long term effects of criminal behavior and educate them on preventive and proactive measures against crime and recidivism.

 

(4) Counseling is offered for substance abuse treatment and dealing with the day-to-day challenges of life.  Mentoring is also available to clients.

OBJECTIVES

  • Increase supervised access and visitation services for the targeted population.  The visitation services afford parents the opportunity for monitored visits with their children while ensuring the safety of the child.
  • Provide a neutral drop-off and pick-up location for the targeted population. This supervised site offers a neutral place for the exchange of children between the parents without any contact.  This is crucial especially in instances where protection orders are in place.
  • Facilitate an initial and preliminary parenting plan or co-parenting plan or co-parenting agreement.
  • Conduct pre- and post-assessments to determine employment, economic, education and other barriers that impede the father;s ability to contribute to the financial and emotional support of their children.  Training in basic fundamental skills/academic enrichment and job training will be provided to assist fathers in gaining employment and establishing a self-development plan.
  • Offer motivational group mentoring and matching, on a case by case basis, which will help to identify and address problematic behavior. 
  • Provide holistic parenting education to targeted population with programs and activities that incorporate both the traditional lecture structure, and methodologies that are highly interactive and experiential.  This training will consist of structured exercises, power groups, video presentations, diagnostic tools and questionnaires, which will address the issue of unplanned parenthood.
  • Identify fathers and mothers in the target population involved in the judicial system (offenders and ex-offenders) and assist them in their efforts to re-enter mainstream society.  The focus will be on life skills: counseling for problematic areas such as alcohol and substance abuse, anger management, and domestic violence, and employment training, job placement and health care referrals.
  • Counselors provide substance abuse, family, clinical and legal counseling services to clients as determined by intake process. 
  • RAPP has built a wide network of services for fathers previously incarcerated. Each year more than 2,500 individuals return to the District of Columbia and face challenging issues of becoming stable enough to assume and/or resume responsibility of their children. 
The success stories of RAPP present role models and encourage previously incarcerated persons to live productive lifestyles.  Aftercare is a vital component for the struggling parent who wants to provide for his/her child(ren). Our work with CSOSA's community supervision program also helps to ensure compliance with conditions of release, outreach, and involvement in the community. 
 
If social service organizations, such as RAPP, do not respond to the needs of this ever-increasing population, not only will their recidivism rates continue to be unacceptably high, but the outlook for their children will remain poor.  It has been well documented in various studies, including one published by the National Council on Crime Delinquency, that children of incarcerated/previously incarcerated parents are at high risk for experiencing a variety of negative developmental outcomes, including ending up in juvenile or adult correctional systems themselves.  Thus, fatherhood initiatives are essential. 
 
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