Dorchester Probation helps fathers make a difference in their children’s lives
A group of 19 court-involved fathers will graduate from the Dorchester Fatherhood Program on Wednesday, June 7, 6 p.m. at the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court (BMC), 510 Washington Street.
As a result of participating in this 12-week program, several of the fathers--some whom believed they would never be granted visitation--reconnected with their children, improved their relationships with them, and or are one step closer to becoming a bigger part of their children’s lives.
Since it was launched in 1998, more than 300 fathers have participated in the Dorchester program currently run by Assistant Chief Probation Officer Vanthomas Straughter and Probation Officer II Cyril Jaundoo. This program not only focuses on fathering skills, but is equal parts self-exploration, old school common sense, lessons on history and cultural awareness, as well as a review of laws that impact the fathers’ and their children’s lives. The interactive sessions also focused on such topics as how to find a job, titled “When CORI is your resume.”
“From day one, we go right in there and address the tough topics,” said Straughter describing the intensity of the program. “We talk to them about their character, their values and how this impacts them and their children.”
“Fatherhood Programs benefit the community and reconnects fathers to their children. By participating, fathers enhance pro-social behaviors, problem-solving and communications skills. This promotes law-abiding behavior that contributes to public safety,” said Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan.
The Dorchester Fatherhood Program is one of the longest running programs of its kind across the state. There are approximately 20 Fatherhood Programs from the Berkshires to Cape Cod.
More than 2,500 fathers have graduated from Fatherhood Programs statewide since the first one was introduced in 1994 by then Chief Probation Officer Thomas Mitchell and Training Director Stephen Bocko. All of the programs are based on the “Five Principles of Fatherhood,”: As a father it is my responsibility to: 1) Give affection to my children; 2) Give gentle guidance to my children; 3) Provide financial support to my children and the mother of my children; 4) Demonstrate respect at all times to the mother of my children; and 5) Set a proud example for my children by living within the law and without the taint of alcohol/drug abuse.
“Educating our fathers on the importance of consistency and stability in their children’s lives has yielded positive results in our collective efforts to strengthen family relationships,” said Probate & Family Court Statewide Supervisor for Probation Richard O’Neil. “Exhibiting these behaviors are essential factors that contribute to healthy child development.”