Fatherhood Sites Get Help from U.S.

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Ten states have been selected to participate in a waiver demonstration program designed to improve the opportunities of young, unmarried fathers to support their children financially and emotionally.

The demonstrations, conducted over three years, will total $15 million from a combined federal and private funding partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the Ford and Charles Stewart Mott foundations; the Lily Endowment; and the Community Foundations in Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Technical assistance for the sites is being provided by the National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership.

The administrative waivers by HHS will allow state-level child support enforcement offices and their community-based, non-governmental agencies to get federal matching funds for private dollars.

The demonstration sites are Baltimore, Boston, Chester County, Pa., Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York City. The waivers will enable the sites to free up federal dollars for a broader set of activities than those usually funded under the child support enforcement program.

"These demonstration projects will test innovative new strategies to help low-income, unmarried mothers and fathers work together for their child's good," HHS Secretary Donna Shalala said in a prepared statement.

The demonstration projects will test approaches to serving young, never-married, noncustodial parents who do not have a child support court order in place and may face obstacles to employment. Some of the activities will include: promoting voluntary establishment of paternity; educational services and career planning; fatherhood and parenting workshops; financial planning and skill education; anger management services; "team" parenting for both mother and father; awareness of domestic violence issues; and transportation assistance.

Information is available at www.hhs.gov. or (202) 690-7850.