OLYMPIA — Over the course of the next three years, the Department of Social and Health Services will team up with school districts and the Washington State Interagency Fatherhood Council to educate teens and young adults about the financial, legal and emotional responsibilities of parenthood. DSHS’ Division of Child Support is among nine state agencies and two federally recognized tribes that were awarded $1 million grants by the Office of Child Support Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
“This is an exciting next step in our commitment to ending poverty,” said Sharon Redmond, DSHS Division of Child Support Director. “At DCS we have always made efforts to invest in family-centered innovations that build financial stability for everyone.”
The Charting a Course for Economic Mobility and Responsible Parenting three-year demonstration begins in federal fiscal year 2021, which starts in September. The first year is dedicated to refining design, evaluation plans and curricula; making formal partnerships with public and private entities; and pilot testing. Years two and three are for implementing, tracking, evaluating and refining program activities.
Washington’s program will help teens and young adults gain knowledge, skills and access to resources that will help them reach their full potential as parents. By incorporating evidence from successful youth development, peer education, health promotion, parent education, workforce development models and cognitive and behavioral education, the program will also encourage the formation and strengthening of local fatherhood supports through groups, mentoring, classes and online parenting education.
“We have a great opportunity with this grant to build new supports for young men who are not yet parenting and young dads to be the fathers their children and families need them to be,” added Anne Stone, Washington Interagency Fatherhood Council Director.
The program will also use digital messaging to reinforce core program activities that promote economic mobility, build healthy relationship skills, teach parenting skills, reduce unplanned pregnancies, prevent relationship violence and enhance life skills.
“Washington state prides itself on being the cutting edge of technology and service delivery, and this grant will help us strengthen that already-solid reputation,” said Don Clintsman, DSHS’ Acting Secretary. “We’re proud to be part of that continuing innovation at DSHS.”