LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville will use a $4.9 million federal grant to help fathers who do not have custody of their children become more engaged parents and forge meaningful relationships with their families, university officials announced today.
The five-year 4 Your Child project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, is led by a Kent School of Social Work team headed by Armon Perry, an associate professor who researches fathers’ involvement with children.
The group will work with the state Office of Child Support Enforcement to recruit participants from six Kentucky counties – Daviess, Elliott, Hardin, Jefferson, McCracken and Owen – beginning this summer. Ultimately, the program is to help 1,560 fathers contribute to their children’s lives and also benefit practitioners, researchers and policymakers interested in responsible fatherhood.
“Research tells us that when men don’t have access to their children, they have a tendency to disengage,” Perry said. For children, the results can be poverty, juvenile delinquency, lower educational attainment, psychological issues and other negative effects. And the mothers tend to endure more child-raising stress, he said.
“We’re looking to offer people additional layers of support so they can do what society is expecting of them,” Perry said. “Family is the primary institution of society.”
The project’s researchers will use the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad curriculum to help fathers work on issues such as health, emotions, fathers’ role, co-parenting techniques and work-life-family balance. Case managers will help the men connect with community resources, information and training to better position them for hiring and improved economic status.