Bledsoe, father of former New England Patriots player Drew
Bledsoe, will serve as guest speaker at the Barnstable District
Probation Department’s Fatherhood Program ceremony on Friday,
June 13, 5 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, Route
elder Bledsoe is an author and speaker. He, together with
his wife Barbara, penned “Parenting with Dignity,” and developed
a curriculum based on the book. The book and curriculum
are offered through the Drew Bledsoe Foundation. “Parenting
with Dignity” is described by the Foundation as a “resource
where parents learn new, essential parenting skills giving
them the tools necessary to create an encouraging, and loving
home for their children.”
children don’t need to be ‘fixed,’ parents need to become
better at what they do,” Bledsoe said.
fathers will participate in the ceremony this week. Approximately
131 have graduated from the program since it was first established
in 1997 in Barnstable by Probation Officer J. Robert “Bob”
Smith. It is one of the longest running Fatherhood Programs
in the state.
Fatherhood Program is the “brainchild” of Steve Bocko, a
Deputy Commissioner who was a Chief Probation Officer for
the Training Division in the Office of the Commissioner
of Probation (OCP) when he and Norfolk Juvenile Court Chief
Probation Officer Thomas Mitchell created the program. Both
men started the program about 12 years ago when they discovered
a common thread among male probationers under supervision.
“An overwhelming majority had little or no contact with
their own fathers,” Mitchell said. There are Fatherhood
Programs in nearly each of the 14 counties throughout the
Fatherhood Program was designed to encourage fathers to
play a more significant role in the lives of their children
by emphasizing the importance of their behavior as a model
for their children, according to Probation Officer Bob Smith.
The Program is based on the following five principles:
As a father, it is my responsibility to give Affection
to my children.
2. As a father, it is my responsibility to give Gentle
Guidance to my children.
3. As a father, it is my responsibility to give Financial
Support to my children and to the mother of my children.
4. As a father, it is my responsibility to Demonstrate
Respect at all times to the mother of my children.
5. As a father, it is my responsibility to set a Proud
Example for my children by living within the law and
without the taint of alcohol and drug abuse.
meeting consists of the members sharing how they have used
one of these principles in the past week. The Fatherhood
Program also features guest speakers which include judges,
clergy and social service providers. The program is held
once a week for 12 weeks and is offered twice a year, in
the spring and the fall.
Massachusetts Probation Service is a department of the Massachusetts
Trial Court. There are 12 Superior Court, 70 District Court,
and 12 Probate and Family Court probation offices throughout
the Commonwealth. Probation’s Juvenile Court system includes
11 divisions which represent every county in the state.
There are more than 20 Community Corrections Centers. The
Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP) serves as
the central administrative office for the Massachusetts
Probation Service and the Office of Community Corrections.