The Washington Interagency Fatherhood Council was founded in the fall of 2018 as the direct result of the two day Washington State 2018 Fatherhood Summit, attended by 140 people, including 35 dads and representatives of 24 service providers. The council has evolved over time to include 30 members, including dads and service providers, and hosted a second annual 2019 Fatherhood Summit.
This event recommended council priorities for the next year:
- Cultural shift to recognize the importance of fathers and reduce stigma
- Whole family approach to policy and practices
- Balance/equity in child support orders, residential parenting plans and visitation orders between parents, co-parenting strategies and support
- Pre-natal and newborn care support for fathers
- Equitable family leave and flex time for fathers for newborns, adoptive children and caring for sick and school age children
- Father specific focus services, resources, support, recognition
Council 2 Year Goals
Building off the Council 2019 Fatherhood Survey, Summit and dialogue the group has developed the follow three goals to guide their work:
- Promote positive fatherhood stories to increase awareness around the essential role of fathers.
- Make services known to fathers and those who serve them.
- Build the capacity of systems to serve whole families to increase parenting time for fathers.
- Increase healing opportunities for fathers through mentoring and parenting education in restorative services.
Vision | Men in Washington are supported to be the fathers they want to be for their children and families.
Mission | We lift the voices of fathers in Washington State by promoting fatherhood inclusion, equity, and value to strengthen families and maximize children’s potential.
Role | To bring together a broad spectrum of fathers, public and private agencies, academics, and advocates to: Collectively raise awareness around the essential role of fathers; nurture a father inclusive culture in our communities, agencies, and policies; develop leaders at all levels to carry messages; and welcome diverse cultures and experiences of fathers to drive change.
- Diversity – understanding and valuing the varied cultures and experiences fathers have while raising their children
- Inclusion – welcoming the diverse spectrum of cultures and experiences of fathers to actively participate in the council
- Equity – all fathers are essential to their children’s social-emotional growth and well-being and need targeted support through an equity framework with a goal of achieving co-parenting efficacy.
- Education – providing learning opportunities for community members, as well as public private and non-profit service providers about the importance of and how to best support fathers
- Partnering – bringing together a broad spectrum of fathers, community members, service providers, and state agencies to achieve our goals
- Leadership - developing transformational leaders at all levels to bring our message to the community
- Cultivating – fostering and nurturing a father inclusive culture and approach to providing services and supports
- Advocacy – consistent and ongoing support of and education about the positive impact of father inclusive policies and programs
How You Can Help |
The Fatherhood Council is moving steadily forward in our goal to positively influence service providers in their effort to provide equitable services for fathers, children, and families. We need your help through:
Use our membership when you need to gather input from fathers on policy or programs
Participate in and support the 2021 fatherhood summit
Conduct a Father Friendly Checkup to assess the degree to which your organization encourages father involvement in your services and programs
Support your staff attending the council meetings and activities
Distribute appropriate information about our program and services
Invite our speakers bureau to come talk to your group or organization.