Helping Young Fathers

Studies show that fathers play a crucial role in the development of self-esteem and emotional health of their children.  Many young men, however, don’t know how to be the fathers they strive to be because they lacked a positive father figure in their own lives.

So, to help young fathers who want to be loving and present in their children’s lives, First 5 LA, a nonprofit that seeks to improve educational and emotional outcomes for children under the age of 5, has allocated $600,000 for a two year pilot that will help young at-risk fathers of children under five to complete school, get a job, participate in their children’s lives and be strong parents and partners.

Those who are or were in probation camps or were foster youth are viewed as “at-risk,” but the program will have an evaluation component to determine who will qualify. The effort would be coordinated with the California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers initiative, which invests $50 million over seven years to support the development of 1,000 youth leaders throughout California, improve attendance by 30 percent in targeted schools, increase reading proficiency among other programs that help young people stay out of the criminal justice system.

“These are difficult challenges, but they can be addressed and overcome” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion. “This is a modest pilot effort to support young, motivated at-risk fathers who want to be loving fathers for their young families. With this, we are investing in our future.”