Colorado program brings dads and kids together

Federal funding has allowed Colorado’s child welfare agencies to connect fathers with their estranged children through a new government program, according to the Denver Post.

The state started the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative after receiving $10 million in federal funding. The program aims to boost fatherhood programs across the state and even provides parenting classes, therapy and employment guidance fathers who may have been barred from seeing their child because they were unable to afford child support payments, the newspaper reports.

“This grant has been very successful in creating that paradigm shift, to educate the providers of these services to always ask, ‘Where’s the father?’ Don’t just assume the father is out of the picture,” Dan Welch, a member of the department of human services, told the paper.

The program has allowed Richard Jama, a Liberian immigrant, to connect with his daughter. Although he had been paying child support, he discovered his daughter was living with foster parents after she was abused by her mother’s boyfriend, a development social workers never informed him of. The news source said when Jama confronted officials at the child support registry office they directed him to a fatherhood program.

After Jama completed the program he gained full custody of his daughter, who is now 6.

Child custody issues similar to Jama’s case regularly occur across the country. A Nebraska man recently sued the state after it took officials more than eight months to tell him his daughter was in foster care, despite the fact that he paid child support.