Birmingham Fatherhood Initiative gains funding for 2011

The Birmingham Fatherhood Initiative, an outreach program of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC), has received a new grant to continue operations in 2011. The $68,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, also known as the Children's Trust Fund, continues the initiative's efforts to increase non-custodial fathers involvement with their children. Studies show that children involved with their fathers are more confident, more likely to have high self-esteem and better able to gain a sense of independence. Youth raised without the presence of a father are at increased risk for poverty, drug and alcohol involvement, academic failure and emotional problems. Up to 70 percent of long-term prison inmates and up to 72 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up in fatherless homes.

Begun in 2002, the Birmingham Fatherhood Initiative provides non-custodial fathers in the Birmingham and Bessemer communities with parenting education and provides services such as employment assistance, job development and continuing education. It works to involve fathers in their children's lives and increase payment and collection of child support.  The initiative serves more than 900 participants.

The award will support the hiring of group facilitators to lead fatherhood groups within community agencies and faith-based organizations, as well offer more intensive in-court services for fathers who are delinquent on child support. 

TASC is a component of the UAB Department of Psychiatry's Substance Abuse Programs. Community partners include 16th Street Baptist Church, New Vision Ministries, Alabama Pardons and Parole, Shepherd's Fold, New Creation Ministries, Beacon Addiction Treatment Center, Aletheia House, and New Beginnings Christian. 

Key stakeholders include: Brian Huff, Presiding Circuit Judge, Family Court of Jefferson County; Jill Ganus, District Judge, Family Court of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division; John Halcomb, Senior Trial Court Referee, Family Court of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division; C.H. Brantley, Senior Trial Court Referee, Family Court of Jefferson County; R.A. Sonny Ferguson, Circuit Judge, Jefferson County Domestic Relations Court; Elise Barclay, District Judge, Family Court of Jefferson County, Birmingham Division; and the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources.