Fatherhood Leadership Summit draws experts, community partners in Region I

ACF regional staff joined governmental and non-governmental leaders, fatherhood engagement experts, and fathers to exchange ideas at the annual Fatherhood Leadership Summit in Marlborough, MA. Together key leaders and fathers explored the vital role that fathers play in the lives of children. Presentations included a review of the research affirming the positive impact of father engagement on child well being, the challenges facing nonresident fathers and a discussion of cross-system strategies that make it easier for fathers to engage with their children. 

Participants included high-level representatives from the Departments of Children and Families, Temporary Assistance, Revenue (Child Support), Housing and Community Development, Early Care and Education, Labor, Corrections, and Probation as well as community based organizations that provide peer support and programs for fathers throughout Massachusetts. ACF staff joined the planning committee and provided resource materials. Regional office staff from OIRA, Child Support and Child Welfare participated in the event.

The keynote presentation by Dr. Ronald Mincy from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being, addressed the crucial role of fathers in society and called for a wider range of services to support their positive engagement with their children and society. Afterwards a panel of fathers and a mother described their own experiences in Massachusetts public systems. The summit also offered  workshops on topics including: Early Brain Development, Working and Supporting Fathers in Transition, Perspectives from the Judiciary, Talking to Fathers about Domestic Violence, and Blended Families. The day concluded with a World Café providing opportunities for leaders to engage with each other in developing a set of action steps for future work.