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Making The Complex Understandable

Louisiana group helps fathers reconnect with their children

Thanks to the Responsible Fatherhood Grant Program initiated by President Obama, a Caddo Parish group was started to help fathers who want to take a more active role in their children’s lives. The group, called Faith in Fathers, helps low-income men who for one reason or another have a difficult time getting to see their children.

According to a woman with Faith in Fathers, often it’s the mothers who prevent the men from having a relationship with their children, even if the father is paying child support. Sometimes, they are angry or hurt about the failed relationship. Possibly, they truly believe that the man shouldn’t be around the child because he wasn’t there initially. One man admitted that he wasn’t around in the months after his oldest child was born, and that has made being able to spend time with her in the ensuing years challenging.

Faith in Fathers is working to help fathers reconnect with their children. They help some non-custodial mothers also. The group’s representative contends that fathers can have a significant impact on the path their children’s lives take. She notes that a large percentage of young people in the juvenile court system (80 percent in 2011) have absentee fathers. She says that children whose fathers are in their lives have “less truancy, less teenage pregnancy, less drug use.” According to the Fatherhood.gov website, Faith in Fathers helps men in the Shreveport area by teaching “skills to become more involved with their children and better partners to the mothers of their children.” It notes that the program also works to reduce domestic violence and helps them understand their legal rights.

Some people believe that the courts play too large of a role in determining child custody and visitation. Most Louisiana judges strive to do what they feel is best for the children caught in the middle of their parents’ conflicts. However, it is essential that parents present the best possible case for why they should have the custody rights they are seeking and ensure that their rights are protected during all of the legal proceeding dealing with their children.

Source: Source: KSLA-TV Channel 12, "Family First: Fighting for Fatherhood," Charisse Gibson, July 3, 2014

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