We wish every father a Happy Father’s Day. I would like to introduce you to the Father’s & Family Program here at Pernet. It consists of two groups; The Nurturing Fathers Group and the Incarcerated Fathers Group.
The Nurturing Fathers Group contracted through the Department of Children & Families (DCF) is a 10 week group for fathers currently involved with DCF. Currently, group facilitators, Chris Nelson, Mary Jane Foley, and Volunteer Don Unger are conducting the group on Zoom with great success. The men are very happy to connect with each other and willingly open up about their parental and relational struggles. Recently a graduate of this group, one of many that had chosen to remain in the next group after graduating, was reunified with his children. He reported being grateful to have experienced the group as a means of learning new parenting strategies and just connecting with other men as fathers. Over 50 fathers have been served in the group over the past year.
The second group is a 10 to 14 week group facilitated by Pernet staff Chris Nelson and Denise Rowan at the Worcester County House of Correction. Unfortunately, this group has been suspended during the Covid 19 outbreak. In addition we try to provide some support to graduates of the group upon their release. To date, we had served 35 fathers in this group. We were beginning to conduct a group in which select members were going to participate in a 4 session activity that included direct interaction with their children. This group will be the first of its kind at the jail with inmates interacting directly with their families. We are planning to restart this group in July with necessary health restrictions.
Numerous studies have shown how important it is to have a father figure in a child’s life. This program works with fathers to help them make a strong and healthy connection with their children. They explore the reasons they are not with their children, how to work on themselves so that they can make that connection. These men become each other’s support sharing life experiences and guiding each other.
Happy (belated) Father’s Day!