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Fatherhood, Co-Parenting and Child Support information. Get a better of understanding of your rights as a parent before you go to court. We will also give you information on how to be a better father and co-parent with the mother. Our goal is to increase father's involvement in the family structure.

5 Reasons Why Moms Establish Paternity, and 5 Reasons They Don't

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, January 19, 2017

5 Reasons Why Moms Establish Paternity, and 5 Reasons They Don't

Posted by Christopher A. Brown from National Fatherhood Initiaitive


As vital as paternity establishment can be to increase the chance that an unmarried dad will be involved in his child's life, little research exists on the reasons why an unmarried mom chooses or not to name the dad as her child's father. 

That's why the research conducted on 800 unmarried Texas moms by the Child and Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas at Austin continues to be so valuable in increasing the knowledge of direct-service providers about the factors that influence their ability to effectively engage fathers. This research reveals 11 motivators for an unmarried mom establishing paternity. The top 5 from highest to lowest proportion are:

  • Having dad's name on the birth certificate
  • Ensuring mom's child has a legal dad
  • Mom really wanted to establish paternity
  • Dad really wanted to establish paternity
  • Making sure dad is responsible for the child

Clearly, many moms want dad's involvement. Indeed, 7 in 10 unmarried Texas parents--not just in this sample but based on hospital records--establish paternity. Nevertheless, that means 3 in 10 don't, certainly not an insignificant number. The top 5 motivators for an unmarried mom not establishing paternity from highest to lowest proportion are:

  • Dad wasn't present/involved leading up to the birth
  • Dad didn't want to establish paternity
  • Dad didn't think it important to establish paternity
  • Mom didn't think it important to establish paternity
  • Dad doubts he's the father

How can you use this knowledge? 

Use it to identify parents at risk of not establishing paternity and increase the chance they will establish paternity. Ask mom and dad, for example, how important it is for dad to have his name on the birth certificate. Ask them whether it's important that their child has a legal tie to dad. Ask them how important establishing paternity is to them. And to attack the most important motivator for a mom not establishing paternity, get dad involved before his child is born. See my two most recent posts for ways to do just that.

Don't sit idly by and take it for granted that mom and dad want to establish paternity. Remember that establishing paternity leads to a number of benefits for the family that include:

  • The right to include dad's name on the birth certificate.
  • The child’s eligibility for public and private benefits through dad (e.g. health and life insurance, social security, veteran’s benefits, and inheritance).
  • Access to dad's genetic history.
  • The ability to file for child support or establish visitation.
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What You Need to Know - New Rule to Increase Regular Child Support Payments

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, January 07, 2017

What You Need to Know

New Rule to Increase Regular Child Support Payments

Posted by Christopher A. Brown

Many of the noncustodial dads served by organizations and programs like yours struggle to pay child support.

The ability of fathers to pay child support has been an issue in sore need of addressing at the federal and state levels for many years. After all, if a father can’t afford to pay the child support he owes, it has bad consequences for him, his child, and the mother or guardian of his child.

What You Need to Know > New Rule to Increase Regular Child Support Payments.jpg

That’s why a new rule issued by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)—the federal agency responsible for child support enforcement and partnering with state, tribal, and local child support agencies—has the potential to positively transform the collection of child support across the country. Although some important provisions didn't make it into the final rule that advocates, including National Fatherhood Initiative, say would have made the rule even more transformative, everyone with a stake in creating effective child support enforcement should be optimistic about its potential.

Specifically, according to ACF, this new rule will make state child support enforcement programs more effective, flexible, and family-friendly. It requires state child support agencies to increase their case investigative efforts to ensure that child support orders—the amount noncustodial parents are required to pay each month—reflect the parent’s ability to pay.

The goal of this new rule is to set realistic orders so that noncustodial parents pay regularly, rather than setting an unrealistically high order that results in higher rates of nonpayment. Mark Greenberg, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, had this to say of the new rule:

“We know from research that when child support orders are set unrealistically high, noncustodial parents are less likely to pay. In fact, several studies say compliance declines when parents are ordered to pay above 15 to 20 percent of their income.”

and “By ensuring states set their orders based on actual circumstances in the family, we believe the rule will result in more reliable child support payments, and children will benefit.”


The new rule updates the child support program by amending existing policy. Here are a few highlights of the new rule:

  • ensure child support obligations are based upon accurate information and the noncustodial parents’ ability to pay
  • increase consistent timely payments to families as well as the number of noncustodial parents supporting their children
  • strengthen procedural fairness
  • improve child support collection rates
  • reduce the accumulation of unpaid and uncollectible child support arrearages
  • incorporate evidence-based standards tested by states that support good customer service
  • increase program efficiency and simplify operational requirements, including standardizing and streamlining payment processing so employers are not unduly burdened
  • incorporate technological advances that support cost-effective management practices and streamlined intergovernmental enforcement
  • prohibit states from excluding incarceration from consideration as a substantial change in circumstances, require states to notify parents of their right to request a review and adjustment of their order if they will be incarcerated for more than six months, and ensure that child support orders for those who are incarcerated reflect the individuals’ circumstances while continuing to allow states significant flexibility in setting orders for incarcerated parents
  • require state child support agencies to make payments directly to a resident parent, legal guardian, or individual designated by the court in order to reign in aggressive and often inappropriate practices of third-party child support collection agencies

Read the rest of article

Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series: Concrete Support

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, December 30, 2016

Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series:

Concrete Support

Posted by Christopher A. Brown


Concrete Support in Times of Need

About concrete support CSSP emphasizes, “Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing and health care is essential for families to thrive.”

Father-specific programs and resources are necessary to adequately address this factor because fathers, and men in general, are reluctant to seek help for their basic needs, much less to admit they have them. As noted in an earlier post in this series, Doctor Dad® helps fathers meet the basic health care needs necessary for their children to thrive and through teaching techniques that are particularly effective with men (e.g. hands-on learning and demonstration supported by visual aids).

CSSP points out that family poverty is the factor most strongly correlated with child abuse and neglect. Families need concrete support to prevent them from or lift them out of poverty. Research shows that father absence places children and families at greater risk of poverty. Therefore, any effort addresses this factor when that effort connects fathers with their children to prevent and intervene on father absence.

NFI recognizes, however, that meeting the basic needs of families (especially those at risk for or living in poverty) is beyond the scope of father-specific programs and resources. Therefore, NFI provides technical assistance and training to help organizations understand the basic needs faced by specific populations of fathers and the importance of integrating father-involvement efforts into the services organizations provide that help families meet their basic economic needs.

Incarcerated fathers are one of the specific populations of fathers NFI helps organizations to serve, primarily through the InsideOut Dad® program. These fathers often struggle with meeting their own and their families’ basic economic needs before and after incarceration.

In 2010, NFI completed The Connections Project, an 18-month federally-funded initiative that involved training on InsideOut Dad® and produced several resources that build the capacity of state and local corrections systems and direct-service providers to better understand the basic needs of formerly-incarcerated fathers for successful reentry into society.....

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Family Tips

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Family Tips

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - BY LAURA H. LIPPMAN & W. BRADFORD WILCOX

The family is the core institution for child-rearing worldwide, and decades of research have shown that strong families promote positive child outcomes. For this reason the World Family Map Project monitors family well-being and investigates how family characteristics affect children’s healthy development around the globe. Families do not operate in a vacuum: their ability to provide for their children and supervise their development depends not only on parenting behaviors and attitudes but also on the social, economic, and policy environments that surround them. Yet efforts to strengthen families are often considered off-limits or of low priority for policy and programmatic interventions, especially in times of financial strain. With the indicators and analyses presented here, this project points individuals, families, communities, NGOs, and governments to some key factors affecting child and family well-being that policies and programs can shape in order to foster strong families and positive outcomes for children.​

 

Learn More: https://worldfamilymap.org

The importance of fathers video

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, December 26, 2016

The importance of fathers featuring Correctional Officer Calvin Williams

TEDx Ironwood State Prison

Published on Jun 2, 2014

Single father of 3 children, Correctional Officer Calvin Williams of Ironwood State Prison speaks about the importance of being a father.

A powerful five-minute video of correctional officer Calvin Williams speaking at a TEDx event held inside a prison about the importance of fathers. What the National Fatherhood Initiative found compelling about the video is not only Calvin's message about how important his role is as a father but the imagery of him delivering the message in his uniform and in a prison.
The imagery creates a stark contrast between the important, positive message Calvin delivers and the view many people have of correctional officers as tough, demanding, and harsh.

Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series: Parental Resilience

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, December 18, 2016

Strengthening Families and The 5 Protective Factors Series:

Parental Resilience

Posted by Christopher A. Brown


Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five protective factors:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Using the Strengthening Families™ framework, more than 30 states are shifting policy and practice to help programs working with children and families focus on protective factors. States apply the Strengthening Families approach in early childhood, child welfare, child abuse prevention, and other child and family serving systems.


Each post includes more detail on each factor than in the brief.

Parental Resilience

Parental resilience is defined by CSSP as “The ability to manage and bounce back from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. It means finding ways to solve problems, building and sustaining trusting relationships including relationships with your own child, and knowing how to seek help when necessary.”

Key to building this resilience is addressing parents’ individual developmental history, psychological resources, and capacity to empathize with self and others. Programs and resources that rely on Attachment Theory create the pro-social connections necessary to develop parental resilience. Because so many parents who abuse and neglect children were abused and neglected themselves, they became parents void of quality intimate relationships with their own parents or caregivers. These parents find it difficult to develop positive attachments to their own children.

Father-specific resources address this factor because fathers who abuse and neglect their children, or who are at risk to abuse and neglect, have unique developmental needs compared to mothers. They moved through a different developmental trajectory. Because many of these fathers lacked involved fathers or positive male role models, they did not develop positive attachments to their fathers and other men. They also did not develop pro-fathering attitudes and values, chief among them attitudes and values associated with healthy masculinity. Masculinity is the primary framework upon which the male psyche is constructed.


6 Tips to Protect Your Child from Bullying

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, November 03, 2016

October 10, 2016
by Ronald Warren www.sixseeds.patheos.com


Bullying is something many children will encounter in some form. It can be name-calling, being picked upon or worse. And, nowadays it can happen in person or online. There is a temptation, especially for dads, to say, “what’s the big deal” or “isn’t this just innocent kid’s stuff?” But the fact is that all forms of bullying are abusive and can leave a painful legacy that can affect children even into adulthood. And, of particular note, dads have a unique and important role to play in helping their kids deal with bullies. Indeed, the social science data shows that children with involved dads are more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior, like proper impulse control and good conflict resolution skills and, thereby, are less likely to bully or be the target of bullies.

So if your kid is being bullied, here are some things to consider:

  • Get Involved…Early—As soon as your children begin to interact with others, you need to begin to teach them not to bully and how to protect themselves from bullies. Remember, children generally do not learn to solve these kinds of problems by themselves. Parents need to teach them.
  • Bullies need love too.—Despite your frustration or even anger when you learn that your child is being bullied, you must remember that the bully is a kid too. Moreover, bullies are very often children who have been bullied or abused themselves. They may be experiencing a life situation that they can’t handle and that leaves them feeling helpless and out of control. Bullying may just be a release for them. Since they can’t control their life, they want to control your child.
  • Bullies don’t grow on trees.—They usually have parents and in many cases their parents don’t know that their child is the class bully. Accordingly, it’s generally a good strategy to get them involved. Remember, however, that they will probably be defensive at first, so don’t lose your cool and make the matter worse. The goal is to create a safe environment for your child.
  • Just the facts, Ma’am.—It’s important that you be a “Detective Joe Friday” and get as much information as you can from your child before you take action. Avoid blaming anyone including your child or even, the bully. Also, make sure that you consider your child’s behavior, conflict management skills and temperament. The solution to this problem may entail some changes for both your child and the bully.
  • Remember, life is a stage.—One of things that my son found most helpful was role playing how he could respond to the bully. He was a bit nervous at first but once he got comfortable, it gave him a renewed sense of confidence. So, I strongly recommend that you actually walk through the situations and have your child practice different responses.
  • Get additional help if needed.—Like your child, you are not alone in handling this situation. Teachers, school administrators, counselor and pastors can be great resources. In addition, you can visit www.safechild.org.

The 5 Factors that Predict a Lack of Dad's Involvement

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Posted by Christopher A. Brown

Last week I wrote about research that shows how important dad's presence is at the birth of his child.

Specifically, his presence increases the likelihood his child will be a healthy newborn. It also means mom is likely to be healthier.

On the other hand, when dad is absent, baby and mom are less likely to be healthy.

But what happens after the birth? How involved is dad at the earliest stage of his child's life? Those are two vital questions because, as we know, a child with an involved dad is more likely to grow up healthy physically, emotionally, and socially.

Another excellent research brief from the Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas at Austin reveals the proportion of dads who are involved and not involved. It also reveals the factors that predict a lack of involvement.

Analyzing data from the same sample of 800 unmarried Texas moms that pointed to the importance of dad's presence at birth, researchers found that 27% of unmarried dads were completely uninvolved in their child's life a mere three months after their child's birth. (For details on how the researchers defined and measured involvement, read the research brief.) The good news, of course, is that nearly three quarters of the unmarried dads were involved.

Nevertheless, that's more than 200 children with an absent dad.


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12 Tips for Live-Away Dads

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, December 18, 2015

 

12 Tips for Live-Away Dads

Learn more about healthy fathering at www.TheDadMan.com.

Whether through divorce, deployment or frequent travel, some dads (and some moms, too) live away from their children for long periods. But that does NOT prevent a vibrant, loving, lasting relationship. (Pronouns alternate between daughter and son.)

1. HANG IN THERE FOR THE LONG HAUL. Living away while raising a child is tough, but both his mom and I remain ​tremendous influences in his life. I meet my responsibilities, including child support, without resentment. I stay calm, committed, loving and loyal toward him -- and do what I can to help his mom do the same. If abuse or abandonment happen, my child needs me to protect him, but he also needs to make peace in his life with that relationship.

 

2. ENCOURAGE HER BOND WITH MOM. My child's relationship with her mom is different than her relationship with me. My child needs to participate fully in it, even when that's hard for me (or her). I encourage her communication with her mom, recognizing that I'm not responsible for their relationship.

 

3. DEVELOP HEALTHY SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS FOR MYSELF. It's normal to struggle with anger, loneliness and other difficult emotions. I meet my adult emotional and social needs maturely with healthy adults; I don't work them out through my child.

 

4. REMEMBER THAT MY CHILD LIVES IN TWO HOMES. The hours before he leaves my home and after he returns may be times of adjustment and sadness that he has to leave either parent "behind." I respect that he may or may not want to talk right away about his time with his mom; I let him take the lead. I don't pry for information or play down his feelings.

 

5. FATHER THE BEST I CAN WHEN MY CHILD IS WITH ME. I can't change how her other parent(s) raise her and I can't make up for what they do or don't do, so I focus on what I can control: my own actions. I don't judge their parenting because no one (including me) is a perfect parent. I trust that all of us are trying our best. I parent her calmly; have clear expectations; show affection, patience, love and trust -- without demanding perfection. I give her healthy attention when she's with me and when she's away (by phone, text, mail, etc.).

 

6. DON'T TRASH MOM. In word and gesture, I speak well about my child's mom even when I'm angry at her -- and even if she speaks poorly about me. If I have trouble speaking well, I wisely say little. Negative talk about my child's mom humiliates and wounds my child, causing him to think less of himself, his mom and me. I keep him out of the middle, even if others don't, and I'll resolve adult conflicts away from him so he can be the child.

 

7. CO-PARENT WITH MOM. If possible, I communicate openly with her mom. As our child grows up, other parents' perspectives are valuable -- and a real bonus for our child. We work with each other (and our partners) for our child's well-being. When I share my concerns and joys about our child with her mom (and vice versa), our child gets our best and most informed parenting.

 

8. MY CHILD AND HIS MOTHER ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I don't misdirect anger at my ex toward my child. When my child doesn't listen, does less than his best or makes mistakes (normal kid behaviors), I don't confuse his mistakes with his mom's actions. Instead, I remember that mistakes are great teachers, and do what I can do to help him learn from his mistakes -- and mine.

 

9. LISTEN TO MY CHILD. Lecturing and arguing get me nowhere. I can't help my child if I minimize her feelings or tell her everything will be okay when I can't guarantee that it will. Instead, I listen and am there for her. I accept my child for who she is; not who I want her to be, think she should be, or think she would be if she were raised only by me. I take the lead in communicating -- even when I feel unappreciated -- building the emotional connection that will help her listen to me when it really counts.

 

10. FOCUS ON MY CHILD'S POSITIVES. I don't father by always pointing out what my child did wrong, so he can fix it. That may work on the job, but not with my children. Focusing on negatives undermines his strength and confidence -- already stretched by living in two homes.

 

11. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS WISELY.My child has different rules and expectations in her mother's house. I am patient with her responses to those differences, while remaining clear about my expectations for our home. I try not to compensate for our family situation by giving in to demands that I spoil my child or lessen my expectations just because she is a child of divorce. I remember that an honest, solid and lifelong relationship with her is more important than what happens today.

 

12. BE THE FATHER, NOT THE MOTHER. I am a powerful and encouraging role model, and I tell him he has a special place in my heart. My masculine actions and loving words help him realize that he too can be adventurous, affectionate, playful and successful -- and should expect respect from other honorable men. My belief in him will help him blossom into a young adult who can make me and her mother proud.

​The Need for Co-Parenting, Regardless of Relationship Status

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, December 26, 2014

 

​The Need for Co-Parenting, Regardless of Relationship Status

Fathers and mothers are both important to the family, and unfortunately, the problems in the relationship or the issues that the mother has with her baby’s daddy or the father has with the mother often get in the way. Whether she or he loves you, dislikes you, doen’t want to be around you, stopped enjoying your company or never ever wants to be in a loving and committed relationship with you ever again – you are still the father (the daddy to your child) or mother and your rights and roles are just as important as the others when it comes to the child.

But women often don’t truly understand what moves their children’s father or what makes him tick. They don’t understand what drives a father to be there and to do for her and the children for the long haul. They often aren’t sure how to keep a father engaged and involved with the children (that they both had together) instead of him being absent and thus being called a deadbeat dad. They don’t necessarily understand how to keep him engaged.

And dads often aren’t sure how to stay engaged with their children when they are no longer involved with their mother. Even dads who live with their children’s mother sometimes have difficulty developing a good approach to co-parenting.

The Power of Two: Putting the Pieces Together…Together

Working together parenting

There is so much more that can get accomplished when the two parents work together.If the two have split up then for the sake of the children – there is still more power in the two.

​​Why? Because no one parent has all it takes to raise a child. While we think it IS true that it takes a village to fully and properly raise a child, the key members of that “village” are the mother and the father. And each of you brings some of the pieces to the puzzle!

For a child to become all he or she was created to be, both of you need to bring what you have learned in life – wisdom, the insights, the skills, the know-how, the values and principles, the faith. And increasingly, as they grow older, your children will be able to bring some pieces to the puzzle as well. So together, you put the pieces together…regardless of whether you and your child’s mother are “together” or not as a couple.

 

Why It’s Important: Kids Want It

If kids could talk honestly about what they want from you both…regardless of you are together with the other parent…here’s the kind’s of things they would tell you:

 

Dear Mom and Dad, I am just a kid, so Please…

  • 1. Do not talk badly about my other parent.
  • 2. Do not talk badly about my other parent’s friends or relatives. Let me care for someone, even if you don’t.
  • 3. Do not talk about the divorce or other grown-up stuff. Please leave me out of it.
  • 4. Do not talk about money or child support.
  • 5. Do not make me feel bad when I enjoy my time with my other parent.
  • 6. Do not block my visits or prevent me from speaking to my other parent.
  • 7. Do not interrupt my time with my other parent by calling too much or by planning my activities during our time together.
  • 8. Do not argue in front of me or on the phone when I can hear you.
  • 9. Do not ask me to spy for you when I am at my other parent’s home.
  • 10. Do not ask me to keep secrets from my other parent.
  • 11. Do not ask me questions about my other parent’s life or about our time together.
  • 12. Do not give me verbal messages to deliver to my other parent.
  • 13. Do not send written messages with me or place them in my bag.
  • 14. Do not blame any other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life.
  • 15. Do not treat me like an adult, it causes way too much stress for me.
  • 16. Do not ignore my other parent or sit on opposite sides of the room during my school or sports activities.
  • 17. Do let me take items to my other home as long as I can carry them back and forth.
  • 18. Do not use guilt or pressure me to love you more, and do not ask me where I want to live.
  • 19. Do realize that I have two homes, not just one.
  • 20. Do let me love both of you and see each of you as much as possible! Be flexible even when it is not part of your regular schedule.

 

Some Things to Remember About Co-Parenting

Co-Parenting for the Good of the Children. ​At the end of the day, we believe in putting the child first.

“It’s Not Just About You​ It’s About the Children Too!"

Who’s Parenting Whom?

  • 1. If you don’t parent your children then your children will end up parenting you.
  • 2. What gets accomplished when two parents are:
    • Headed in the Same Direction
    • Headed in Separate Directions
    • Headed Simply in the Children Direction

 

Co-Parenting and Location

Location, Location, Location may be important when trying to decide where to put a store or even buy a house. But it is less important when it comes to Co-parenting. Instead, it is love the children no matter where you are, no matter where they are and no matter what the cost.
​In other words, you BOTH are my parents and I need you BOTH!

 

Adapted from © 2012 Dr. Sheldon D. Nix & Darrell V. Freeman, M.A. “A Father for Life: The 6 “C’s” of a Star Dad”. A DFFC Publication.


About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.


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