Father and Children Services

The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood would like to see an emphasis on non-custodial fathers who have children in foster care or within care of children services. Therefore, the Commission has partnered with Urban Light Ministries to expand their father-strengthening fatherhood services from Clark County Children Services  to Montgomery County Children Services. Working with this unique population makes this pilot project exceptional in many ways; and a successful project will allow Ohio to expand this model to other counties and assist with providing stability for children in their own homes.

After the completion of this pilot project we hope to see the following outcomes:

• Fathers complete a family engagement plan and establish stability for ongoing consistent visitation.
• Children in foster care be reunited with their biological fathers
• Fathers granted full custody or shared custody
• Children spend quality time with their fathers
• Children spending less time in foster care or in care of children services

Fathers and children in the pilot will conduct activities together and share a family meal; followed by the fathers completing fatherhood classes similar to the Clark County program. Urban Light Ministries staff is working directly with Montgomery County Children Services staff (case managers) to receive referrals in addition to developing and implementing family engagement plans for each father to work toward receiving custody or consistent visitation, etc. A Family Engagement Plan is a plan designed to facilitate the relationship between a father and his children, the current foster parents and the mother. The plan will be tailored to each father and the specific circumstances surrounding their children. The Family engagement plan will, at a minimum:

• Outline a visitation schedule
• Establish two-way communication with foster parent and child (phone call, text, e-mail, public location)
• Establish a method to communicate and be involved with the school
• Provide steps toward obtaining shared or full time custody (particularly in cases of permanent removal)
• Establish a timeline for each step

During the 14 weeks fathers are working through their family engagement plans with the children services case manager, Urban Light Ministries staff and additional partners. Additionally, a relationship educator is helping to open the lines of communication among the father, the mother of the father’s child/ren and the child/ren, and work with the parents on the dynamics of co-parenting.

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