The Los Angeles Fathers Program of Project NATEEN at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is an annual program offering a variety of services and workshops designed to foster responsible teen parenting for approximately 250 fathers, ages 15 to 25.
According to NATEEN, young fathers experience higher rates of poverty, unemployment and low educational achievement. Many parenting and relationship programs have been developed for young mothers, however some experts have said that young fathers are not as well served by such mother-oriented programs.
“Fathers don’t mother,” said Yale professor of child psychiatry Kyle Pruett in an interview with Salon.com as he emphasized the roles fathers plays in their childrens’ lives. Their roles are significantly different than those of mothers, yet fathers are just as important. According to Pruett, children living with an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, socially connected and greater successful in their careers.
During the fatherhood workshops, fathers are offered a job training and placement course along with an eight-week course addressing partner communication, conflict resolution and active family decision making. Fathers also receive domestic violence prevention classes, referrals to community resources, and weekly allowances including food bank coupons and public transportation tokens. All of these activities play a big role in making sure that teen fathers receive the help they need.
“I think that often times all the teen-parents reality shows only portray how hard teen moms’ lives are but don’t really show how hard it is for the dads too,” said local high school student Jonathan Kim. “It must be hard to be constantly labeled as the ‘bad guy’ and yet have to support a family.”
The program workshops are offered on Wednesdays from 5:30 -7pm at CHLA. Childcare and food is provided.