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Love, Dad: Fathers learn skills to better support their children

Societal norms tend to place many of the responsibilities of raising children on the mother, but a CCRC pilot program equipped fathers with the skills they need to support their children and families. Love, Dad is a pilot program that was offered under our award-winning Home Visiting program, which was recently featured on Telemundo.

The program is research-based and functions under the premise that families benefit most when all parents — including fathers — are actively involved in the care and development of their children. One participant told us the experience helped him build knowledge and confidence in parenting.

“There are many elements I learn every time,” said Oliver Arturo Garcia. “How my son developing, how to help his development, how to be there for him when he needs me, because he still doesn’t speak. But there are so many things the program teaches me to be able to support his growth at any age.”

Garcia is a Pacoima father of two boys, age 8 and 6 months. He says the program helps him respond and anticipate each of his children’s unique needs.

“Max is super special. He is a different child – calm, he likes to be very active, always playing and always calm,” he says. “But Jordan is much smaller, very different.”

He enjoys playing with his children and, ever since participating in CCRC’s Home Visiting Program and its Love, Dad pilot, Garcia believes he can truly connect.

“As fathers, we don’t really take the roles of fathers. Just because we are thinking about work, earning money, we take them out now and then. We think this is enough for the role of the father, but no. Fatherhood is also collaborating with your wife, your home, with the children. Equally, your child is going to do what you do. If I’m not with them, they will do the same. I don’t want them to be like that. I want my kids to take care of their children. That is why the program has helped me a lot to connect and be there for my children. Because it is best not to just have one but both parents together so the kids grow healthy.”

And through this pilot, Garcia says the sense of community among other father provides confidence to freely discuss difficult topics.

“The truth is it helped my health a lot because I feel like people are looking out for and worried about me, my family, and the growth of my children. I am not alone,” he says. “They are always supporting each other in the group to be able to talk about the children, any doubts, any annoyances I have – I can always talk, I am not alone. I have confidence in speaking with them.”

Confidence creates consistency in parenting, something Garcia wants other fathers to see for themselves.

“I would suggest other fathers participate in the program because the reality is you leave behind a lot of doubts you have and come away with the tools to be a better parent economically, morally, and with love to be there for your kids, not only superficially, but truly happy,” he explains.

A major goal of the program is to address untreated paternal stress and mental health issues.

We offer the service in English and Spanish.

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