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Fathers in Spotlight During National Social Work Month

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In 2012, there were 176,000 stay-at-home dads responsible for taking care of children. (Onkelbo/Wikimedia Commons)
In 2012, there were 176,000 stay-at-home dads responsible for taking care of children. (Onkelbo/Wikimedia Commons)
March 11, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. – As Nebraskans tip their hats to social workers during National Social Work Month, Nebraska Children's Home Society is celebrating one year of Fatherhood P³, a father-to-father, community-based service.

Program coordinator David Pollock says fathers carry anxiety about all the social factors they faced before they had children – concerns about financial stability is a common theme – in addition to new challenges as parents.

Pollock says the 12 week course aims to give dads the tools they need to get involved, and stay involved, with their children.

"When they have children or they have newborns, a lot of fathers, they're like blindsided, like deer in the headlights, so to speak, and they really don't know what to do," Pollock states.

Groups of 10 or so dads would meet once a week for dinner, provided at no charge, and frank discussions on the challenges of fatherhood.

The program focuses on three pillars of fatherhood: purpose, presence and participation.

Pollock says after a strong first year, working with fathers already connected to the Society through other programs, the group will extend its outreach to the greater Omaha area.

The program helps fathers manage their anxiety by helping them define their unique purpose, which Pollock says can instill a grounding focus, which also allows dads to be truly present with their children.

He adds that participation, playing games or asking questions is vital for a child's emotional and educational development.

"Children feel a sense of connectivity when the father is engaged, even if they're just reading,” Pollock stresses. “There's a sense of growth and development that begins to happen when a father is truly engaged."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 there were 176,000 stay-at-home dads taking care of children.

Pollock notes that, traditionally, mothers have been the ones to access services, and many agencies are geared toward women.

"And the way that our society is changing now, our fathers are needing assistance, our fathers are needing the support,” he points out. “And there are a lot of fathers right now that are single parent fathers."

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE