LOS ANGELES, June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Los Angeles-based program Project FatherhoodSM is celebrating 20 years of helping to strengthen families by engaging men in building meaningful relationships with their children. The unique program was founded in 1996 at Children's Institute, Inc. (CII) by the late Dr. Hershel K. Swinger—a renowned African-American psychologist and community champion—who saw a need for a program that specifically addressed the needs of men and their roles in the family.
Through counseling, family support, parenting education, activity groups for children, advocacy for fathers in the court system, and other services, Project FatherhoodSM gives fathers the tools they need to become actively engaged parents. At the core of the program is the Men in Relationships GroupSM (MIRG), a group led by male mental health professionals—most of them fathers themselves—specifically designed to address the parenting and relationship needs of men.
What started as one support group with a few fathers at CII has evolved over the last two decades into a movement to increase father involvement and spread the message of Project FatherhoodSM nationally. Since its inception, the program has served more than 12,000 fathers and 17,000 children across Los Angeles County, while training dozens of community organizations on the delivery of the program model. Plans are underway to expand its reach to military fathers, gay fathers and fathers of children in Head Start. In addition, a collaborative effort called The Los Angeles Fatherhood Network has been established to bring together the many organizations throughout the area working on the Fatherhood cause.
"Dr. Swinger's vision was to have a Project FatherhoodSM program on every corner. He knew the value of engaging men in the upbringing of their children so they view themselves as more than financial providers," said Project Fatherhood Director Alan-Michael Graves. "Every year we expand the program to more men and their families to underscore one of the main tenets of our program, 'If your kids are okay, then you're okay.'"
In honor of its 20th Anniversary, Project FatherhoodSM will host the 9th Annual Fatherhood Solution Conference on Friday, June 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, located at 5400 Century Blvd. More than 500 child welfare professionals, nationally recognized experts, community activists and fathers plan to attend. For more information about the event, and/or Project FatherhoodSM, please contact Courtney Kassel, Vice President of Communications, at 213-260-7715.
Children's Institute, Inc. (CII) helps children in Los Angeles's most challenged communities heal from the trauma of family and community violence, build the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of poverty, and grow up to lead healthy, productive lives. Established in 1906, CII now reaches more than 28,000 children and families each year through treatment, youth development, early childhood and family support services. We also work to inform the larger field of children's services through the research and professional development efforts of our Leadership Center. For more information, visit www.childrensinstitute.org or www.projectfatherhood.org.
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SOURCE Children's Institute, Inc.