$180K grant supports local families through ‘Caring Dads’ program

Image via Resolve Counselling Services.

Caring Dads is now in Kingston and has expanded its reach, thanks to a three-year $180,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

“This grant brings to Kingston a much-needed, proven resource for fathers struggling in their role,” said Ian Arthur, member of provincial parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “Strong, positive parental relationships make resilient kids and stronger communities. It’s a win-win-win.”

The Caring Dads program focuses on dads who are at risk of being abusive to their children or their children’s mother, and also provides support to the partners/spouses to ensure support is given to all parents, according to a release from Resolve Counselling Services Canada. This program was brought to the Kingston area through the joint effort of Family and Children’s Services of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA), and Resolve.

“We wanted to help fathers understand how critical the fathering relationship is to their child’s sense of identity, safety and well-being,” said Lousanne Rodé from Family and Children Services.

To date, 89 dads have been impacted by this program, as well as over 110 partners and over 220 children. During the 17-week program, Resolve said that dads learn many different aspects of fathering including the importance of child-centred parenting, the impact their healthy and unhealthy behaviours have on their children, and the importance of respecting their children’s mothers as parents or co-parents.

A dad who realized he need to work on his relationship with his children’s mother said, “I wanted to learn ways to reduce conflict in the home as well as to do more activities with my daughter…This has helped reduce conflict and allows her and I to focus on our mental health and awareness to solutions.”

According to the release, Amy Fisher and Kaleb Verk, both from Resolve, have been facilitating this program for a number of years, and have seen the difference this program can make.

“It’s been inspiring to work with all of these dads who come into the program already loving their children but also struggling in different ways to show that love,” Verk noted. “Most of them haven’t had the healthiest role models in their own fathers and often say ‘this is stuff I wish I had learnt years ago.’ We hear about how they are trying new ways of talking, listening, and playing with their children and how they feel more connected to their kids and proud of themselves.”

With the end of the OTF funding, Resolve and FACSFLA are both looking for further funding opportunities to continue this program.

“The OTF funding has been the catalyst to get this program truly off the ground,” stated Kim Irvine-Albano, Clinical Director from Resolve. “Its effectiveness is seen by the legal system, the social service system, and by the participants itself. Resolve is grateful to this significant investment from OTF into the Caring Dads program. It is a program that makes a difference.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector, according to the release. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Caring Dads program can contact Kim at Resolve at 613-549-7850 x3214.

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