Virginia's State-Wide Strengthening Families Initiative
Any questions please contact: Rev. Anthony J. Mingo, Sr.
NOVA Strengthening Families Initiative (SFI)
Focus Group Meeting Agenda:
1.) Discussion of impact of Father Absence in your local communities (What do you see in your community and church?)
a. Feed Back/Suggestions (Recommendations from Pastors, Ministry Leaders, and Community Leaders)(Your Input is vital!)
2.) Focus Group Goals for SFI
3.) Indentifying the direct roles that your church/organization can participate in under the Family Strengthening Initiative Program (eg.Training Institute, Local Focus Group)
Fishers of Men for Jesus Ministries is honored to have partnered with The Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Social Services (VDSS) in coordination of the Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Faith Based Consortium as the Consortium Steering Committe's Chair. VDSS recognizes engaging faith based organizations is an important component of any successful community mobilization strategy. Partnering with organizations such as Fishers of Men for Jesus Ministries represents a valuable collaboration for the Strengthening Families Initiatives efforts to engage the faith community in Northern Virginia.
The Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Faith Based Consortium in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Social Services is dedicated to reducing non-marital births, connecting and reconnecting fathers with their children, and encouraging the formation and development of safe, stable, intact two-parent families.
The Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Initiative is dedicated to the mission of
Research has revealed compelling links between family breakdown (Fatherlessness) and the core social issues facing the community. The breakdown of the family unit is a major contributor to poverty, unresolved anger, hopelessness, abuse and neglect, poorer health outcomes, poorer school performance, crime and violence.
Diminishing relationships between men and women, decline in marriage rates and the absence of fathers working cooperatively to raise their children are major factors explaining these social conditions and poverty in our region today.
The Initiative was first birthed in 2008, when the Virginia Department of Health’s Richmond City Health District launched the Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative (http://richmondfatherhood.org/aboutus.html) , originally called Man Up. The Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative is a city wide collaborative effort of several agencies, organizations and individuals dedicated to the mission of “creating a community culture connecting fathers to their families”. City of Richmond has one of the highest non-marital birth rates in the nation. In 2007, sixty three percent of births in Richmond were to single mothers. To promote an increase of two-parent families and a more nurturing culture for children and parents, solutions must be determined and implemented by all members of the Richmond community.
Looking for solutions?
There are both and social and financial costs associated with a high rate of non-marital births and broken families. The Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Initiative with the Department of Social Services will be examining these costs and offer solutions in a document entitled “Cost & Solutions to Family Fragmentation & Father Absence in Northern Virginia”
This report will examine the social and financial impact of family fragmentation and father absence in Northern Virginia and will provides six specific strategies for creating a community culture of connecting fathers to their families.
Research has revealed the social and financial link between father absence and family fragmentation as a core issue facing the Cities and regions across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The breakdown of the family is a major contributor to poverty, poor health outcomes, academic underachievement, crime, abuse, and a growing financial commitment from taxpayers. Increased father involvement is one solution in the overall strategy to strengthen families.
The State-Wide Strengthening Families Initiative’s six strategic areas of focus are:
Community Mobilization - the purpose of Community Mobilization is to connect, equip and empower a grassroots network of stakeholders working to create a community culture connecting fathers to their families.
Social Marketing - the purpose of Social Marketing is to leverage multiple media strategies in communicating the value of fathers, resulting in the creation of community culture connecting fathers to their families.
Resource Development - the purpose of Resource Development is to identify, gather and leverage information, financial, technical and human resources, resulting in a community culture connecting fathers to their families.
Policy Development - the purpose of Policy Development is to identify existing or potential policy initiatives assisting or detracting from the creation of a community culture connecting fathers to their families.
Workforce Development - the purpose of Workforce Development is to increase the employability profile and employment prospects, resulting in a creation of a community culture connecting fathers to their families.
Alternatives to Incarceration & Reentry - the purpose of Alternatives to Incarceration & Reentry is to employ pre and post incarceration strategies and programs focused on creating a community culture connecting fathers to their families.
The Initiative’s work is guided by the Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Faith Based Consortium Core Team (steering committee) composed of persons representing Churches, Ministries and Faith-Based Organizations, and Agencies as well as individuals working in the areas of policy, programming or practice related to family strengthening and fatherhood.
Becoming a part of the Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Faith Based Consortium is the first step to getting involved. The “Consortium” is a diverse network of agencies, organizations, congregations and stakeholders committed to fatherhood programs, manhood training, mentoring, marriage promotion, domestic violence prevention and family stability.
Opportunities to connect with the Northern Virginia Strengthening Families Faith Based Consortium :
Annual Strengthening Families & Fatherhood Forum - attend this yearly gathering of national, state and local leaders exploring issues related to family strengthening and fatherhood.
Focus Groups - half day Focus Groups for the purpose of identifying the needs of men in each county in Northern Virginia. Focus Group attendees will also discuss current and potential strategies for addressing the needs of boys, fathers, men and families in their respective counties in Northern Virginia.
Training Institute – Equip and empower local congregations with the essential knowledge, skills and resources for facilitating outreach oriented training programs that address manhood, fatherhood, re-entry, healthy relationships and marriages. The Training Institute will offer “train the trainer” courses and participants will receive State “Facilitators Certification”.
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