History: In 2011, Ohio Commission on Fatherhood (OCF) was implemented into the Office of Family & Children’s Program Improvement Plan. After a thorough examination of practices, it was clear additional assistance was needed to engage fathers. The major barrier identified in the CPOE Stage 8 reports was agency’s inability to involve fathers and non-custodial parents in case planning and assessments of their service needs. Thus as a result, the OCF began training Ohio County Children Services staff on engaging fathers during the early stages of the PIP. In order to strengthen the presence of fatherhood in the child welfare system OCF proposed a pilot project with Summit County Children Services.
Purpose: Summit County Children Services submitted a wonderful RFGA proposal and in response to their proposal we began this pilot project. The purpose of the OCF & Summit County Children Services Collaboration is to provide training and assistance for up to five county Public Children Services Agencies (PCSA) and OCF staff on how to develop a fatherhood program within a county PCSA. This pilot project will develop a tool kit directing the county Public Children Services Agencies and OCF on best practices within PCSA regarding father identification, notification, engagement and involvement. The tool kit will include a step by step manual that includes a process on how to train (train the trainer) as well. OCF strongly encouraged this project to serve counties such as Franklin, Trumbull, Montgomery, and Coshocton where fatherhood has a strong presence and infrastructure but does not retain father engagement in their local county children service agencies. Summit County has a long standing collaboration with local fatherhood programs in which has allowed them to build strong models and inferences within children services on responsible fatherhood that should be replicated throughout the state.
Objectives: Summit County Children Services will replicate their successes by teaching other county Public Children Services Agencies to do the following:
• Strengthen PIP by providing training for Ohio County Children Services staff to engage and serve fathers in order to enable fathers to provide healthy relationships and a sustainable life for their child/ren.
• Increase overall performance in PIP and decrease risk of federal penalties and financial burdens
• Create and/or include fathers in case planning.
• Locate and identify all fathers within open and future cases
• Decrease the need for adoption and foster care services
• Increase knowledge of domestic violence
• Replicate a high percentage of Dads being identified such as Summit County (21% pre Father Factor increased to 91% as of November 2012)
• Identify and involve fathers in case planning where service needs would be assessed and identified.
• Build relationships with fatherhood programs and other referral services for fathers