Fatherhood Town Hall offers support to dadsWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) will host its second “Fatherhood Town Hall” 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Bibleway Temple at 2335 Collingwood Blvd. LCCS is seeking to continue its fatherhood initiative with the free event, where resources and support will be provided to fathers who have been separated from their children.
Marjorie Holt, LCCS Minority Affairs and Inclusion Coordinator, said, “When fathers get involved it makes a difference in that child’s life. It’s so important for the community to embrace what we’re doing at the agency in terms of fathers and fatherhood.”
Moderated by George Thompson of the University of Toledo, the town hall will include a discussion by a panel of local pastors. The pastors will speak to specific issues that fathers face, including re-entry after incarceration, custodial and economic limitations and committing to fatherhood.
“It’s designed to provide a sense of support to fathers who are finding difficulties sometimes to reunify and connect with their child or provide the kind of resources a child will need,” Holt said.
According to Julie Malkin, public information officer for the agency, LCCS is one of Ohio’s most progressive agencies because it proactively works with fathers who have been disconnected or separated from their children.
“One-third of the reunifications in 2009 were with a father,” Malkin said.
“Fathers are stepping up to the plate at the agency more than they have been in the past,” Holt said. “I think one of the things that we have come to understand and appreciate is that children have fathers, too.”
There has been an increase in reunifications for fathers through the years, Holt said.
“Reunification means that a father has met all the qualifications for a child to live with him, and able to provide for that child, financially, the means, resources and wherewithal to rear their child,” Holt said.
LCCS is seeking other agencies and response groups to attend the town hall in order to provide attendees with access to as many resources as possible, such as the Reentry Coalition of Northwest Ohio and YWCA. Present at the event will be members of LCCS’ Diversity Advisory Committee: Bishop Nelson Clark, Bishop Gerald Brown, Pastor Benjamin Green, Pastor Kenneth Peterson, Pastor Francine Brown and host Pastor Bruce Mitchell.