Caring Dads was developed in a university partnership as a group intervention program for men who have abused, neglected, or exposed their children to domestic abuse. The program is intended to enhance the safety and well-being of children through men’s participation in the program.
The work of the program places appropriate responsibility on fathers to keep their child(ren) safe, and frames the impact of men’s violence against their intimate relationships through a gender-based perspective. Caring Dads works to complement existing efforts to end men’s use of violence; it is not intended to replace batterer programs/Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) programs which are specifically designed to address men’s use of violence against women.
Caring Dads works in collaboration with other community-based organizations with the goal of addressing men’s violence. Catholic Charities' Caring Dads program will work specifically in partnership with the Integrated Domestic Violence Courts (Supreme Court) throughout the Eighth Judicial District.
The Caring Dads program is specifically designed for adult men who have abused and/or neglected their child(ren) and their child(ren)’s mother and are consistently attending the Catholic Charities' Domestic Violence Program for Men, and as required or directed by the court or an agent of the court.
Men attend 17 weekly group sessions, two hours in length, co-facilitated by two trained staff. Staff engage men in the process of the group work session curriculum. Mothers of men’s children may be contacted by an advocate to offer information and support, as well as other essential services in order to avoid potential consequences of men’s involvement in the program.
To help address the frequent gaps in services to fathers who abuse or neglect their children as well as the mother of their child(ren), Caring Dad's case management strategies establish a community-based model for holding men accountable. The goal is to ensure, as best as possible, child safety and well-being as an outcome of the father’s involvement in the program. The intent is to include the father in the process of establishing safety protocols for the children, as well as the mothers, so that there is decreased potential for his abuse of her and the child(ren).
Fees are established on a sliding-scale based according to income and number of dependents. Fee payment is required at the time service is received.
The Caring Dads program will open in Erie County and will gradually be offered by Catholic Charities in the eight counties of Western New York in conjunction with Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Program for Men.