Oklahoma’s Father-Involvement Initiative

For the past year, the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) has been proud to work with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) in their father-involvement initiative.

ODMHSAS, in partnership with substance use treatment providers, is working to expand comprehensive treatment, prevention and recovery support services for women, their children, and other involved family members through our pregnant and postpartum women’s grants: Oklahoma Program for Pregnant & Postpartum Women and Oklahoma Families First Project. An anticipated outcome of the project’s family-centered efforts is an increase in the number of fathers and other family members who are engaged and serve in tandem with mothers and their children.

To achieve this outcome, ODMHSAS has offered father-involvement training through NFPN to outpatient and residential treatment agencies working with families in Oklahoma. Our primary trainer has been Todd Hickman, NFPN board member, and I have helped to facilitate these trainings, which have mostly been virtual but included one in-person training last month.

One of these outpatient treatment agencies, CREOKS Health Services, has had approximately 75 staff members attend the father-involvement training. As a result of learning more about how to involve fathers in their children’s lives, CREOKS started a support group for fathers called the “Dad Cave.” This support group is facilitated by a Peer Recovery Support Specialist and/or Family Support Provider who is a father himself. CREOKS reports that the “Dad Cave” has increased father-involvement significantly, and that they have witnessed major success for some of the fathers participating in the group. In addition to the “Dad Cave” support groups, CREOKS encourages fathers to participate in the same parenting skills and education opportunities that mothers participate in to create consistency and structure within the family unit. When creating a Family Care Plan, CREOKS works to engage all parents involved when appropriate and safe to do so. CREOKS is one of many agencies working to increase father-involvement in Oklahoma.

It has been an honor to work with these dedicated professionals, and we look forward to future trainings through ODMHSAS. We recently updated our father-involvement curriculum, and here’s a link to more information: https://www.nfpn.org/father-involvement/father-involvement-training-package/. Please contact me if you’re interested in obtaining these materials and/or having live training. Thank you!

Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director


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