Collaborative Partners work directly with FATHER Project participants and staff in a variety of ways. Many collaborative partners offer services and referrals to project participants. Some of the collaborative partners offer organizational support to project staff. Organizations involved in the collaborative represent not only very diverse populations, but different levels of experience and types/lengths of involvement with the FATHER Project.
Parents as Teachers (PAT)/Meld
PAT/Meld provides the curriculum for parenting groups and train Father Advocates in Meld facilitation. PAT is an international organization that focuses on early childhood programming, such as home visits, screenings, and more recently the Meld model (which merged with PAT in August of 2005). Its mission is "to provide the information, support and encouragement that parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life. Parents receive services from local PAT programs either through the 4-component Born to Learn(tm) home-visiting model or through the Meld parent support group model. The Born to Learn(tm) model includes regular home visits (usually monthly); routine vision, hearing, health and developmental screenings for the children; parent group meetings; and resource referrals. The organization has been perceived as “mothers-only” but has strong connections to working with fathers, both through a long-term relationship with the FATHER Project, and its own federally funded initiatives which emphasize healthy development of children and the importance of dads role, especially on creating a bond with a child to enhance self-esteem.
The Division of Indian Work (DIW)
DIW refers participants from its own fatherhood program to the FATHER Project and also works as a source for referrals from the FATHER Project. DIW has over 54 years of experience in program implementation, and recently expanded its Teen Indian Parents Program. DIW is a partnering agency with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and DIW offers four programs in addition to the Teen Indian Parents Program: Horizons Unlimited (food shelf and emergency assistance), Family Violence Program, Youth Leadership Development Program and Healing Spirits Program. Its mission is to empower American Indian people through culturally based advocacy, education, counseling, and leadership development.
Central Minnesota Legal Services (CMLS)
CMLS provides an attorney on site two days a week to meet with participants on issues related to visitation and custody. The organization provides civil legal services to low-income persons in 21 counties in Central Minnesota. Its mission is "to provide in a highly professional manner for the basic legal needs of families and children vulnerable to abuse, violence, neglect, homelessness or major economic disruptions in their lives." Clients receive legal services at no cost, unless there are court fees that cannot be waived. CMLS helps eligible clients through direct representation, brief advice, and through participating in community legal education programs.
African American Family Services (AAFS)
At the FATHER Project, AAFS is a domestic violence partner, provides one-on-one counseling sessions at the project office, and facilitates ongoing Empowerment Group sessions. AAFS is a Rule 31 Certified Chemical Dependency Outpatient Treatment Center. Its mission is to help the African American individual, family and community to reach a greater state of well-being through the delivery of community-based, culturally-specific mental health, chemical health and family preservation services. AAFS defines cultural specificity as the creation of a safe, supportive environment in which the identity and experience of a people in a specific group or culture, is recognized, explored and accepted. AAFS currently works with fathers and families by providing services that offer culturally-specific perspectives while empowering fathers to change destructive behaviors to ensure the safety and wellness of their families.
Way to Grow (WTG)
WTG refers FATHER project participants to their services, recruiting from the project office once per month. The organization. prepares children for successful school careers and supports positive families by providing culturally appropriate, community-based services for school readiness. Program activities holistically focus on ensuring young children are physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively ready to start kindergarten. School readiness services encompass three areas: parent and child education, health education, and family support services. WTG’s mission is to engage diverse parents and families to nurture and prepare their children for school and life success.
Hennepin County Child Support (HCCS)
A critical component of the FATHER project since its inception has been the inclusion of on-site HCCS officers. HCCS has dedicated two Child Support Officers to work with FP participants, FP staff and FP management. HCCS provides the following services; establish paternity, establish or modify child support orders, collect court ordered child support, assess all prospective participants’ status and relay that information to FP staff, complete data verification forms, participate in FP orientation sessions, participate in collaborative case management meetings, co-location of HCCS staff at the FP office, train other case managers about child support, one-on-one assessment of participants, and provide flexible child support services based on individual participants’ circumstances and in conformance with State and Federal regulations. HCCS mission is to enhance the well-being of children by assuring that assistance in obtaining support, including financial and medical, is available to children through locating parents, establishing paternity, establishing support obligations, and monitoring and enforcing those obligations. Their vision is that children can count on their parents for the financial, medical and emotional support they need to be healthy and successful.
Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES)
CLUES is a National Council of La Raza affiliate and provides linguistically appropriate and culturally proficient services to Spanish speaking people. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life of the Latino community in Minnesota. CLUES administers many federal and state and county grants in the areas of Mental Health, Chemical Health, Elder Wellness, Education and Employment. At the FATHER Project, CLUES provides a full-time Father Advocate, as well as offering a Spanish-speaking support group for fathers interested in improving their relationships with their children and a Spanish-language Parenting Group.
University of Minnesota/Citizen Father Project (Dr. William Doherty)
Dr. Doherty is an independent consultant to the FATHER Project. He is Professor in the Department of Family Social Science and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program and the newly created Citizen Health Care Program at the University of Minnesota. He leads the Families and Democracy Project, which aims to develop the theory and practice of democratic public work by psychotherapists, family educators, and health care professionals. He is a senior family therapist and family researcher in the field and is currently principal investigator on the federally Funded Family Formation Project which is learning how to promote healthy marry among urban unmarried couples with children. At the FATHER Project, Dr. Doherty provided training in the Families and Democracy model and led the facilitation and development of the Citizen Father Project.
Minneapolis Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)
Minneapolis ECFE offers in-kind services to the FATHER Project and is a program for all Minnesota families with children between the ages of birth to kindergarten entrance. The program is offered through Minnesota public schools. ECFE is based on the idea that the family provides a child’s first and most significant learning environment and parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. ECFE works to strengthen families. ECFE’s goal is to enhance the ability of all parents to provide the best possible environment for their child’s learning and growth.
Project for Pride in Living (PPL)
As part of the FATHER Project steering committee, PPL provides resources and information on helping program participants obtain housing. PPL’s mission is to work with lower-income individuals and families to achieve greater self-sufficiency through housing, employment training, support services, and education.
Minnesota Fathers & Families Network (MFFN)
MFFN is a technical assistance partner to the FATHER Project, as well as part of the Steering Committee. MFFN enhances healthy father-child relationships by promoting initiatives that inform public policy and further develop the field of fatherhood practitioners statewide. This includes special projects in public policy, education, and technical assistance around creating father friendly environments and agencies. MFFN has helped to build the field of fatherhood across the state of Minnesota and has worked with the McKnight Foundation to develop a blueprint for fatherhood, a five-year plan entitled “Fathers to the Forefront” which targets four arenas (Policy, Services and Support, Research and Advocacy, and Education) with the goal of strengthening Minnesota families. The collaboration between the FATHER Project and MFFN creates two-way benefits. The FATHER Project gains access to statewide and national resources, research, and policy updates. MFFN gains access to many of the successful strategies and lessons learned by the FATHER Project – which may be shared with other fatherhood programs across Minnesota.