Engaging Fathers was selected as a topic for a teleconference because, according to the CFSR, across the nation, child welfare agencies still struggle with locating fathers and engaging and involving them in their children’s lives and in the case planning process. Fathers play unique and important roles in their children’s lives; therefore, maintaining contact and strengthening the father-child bond should be a priority. The objectives of this session were:
To introduce ways to use the “voice of father” within the child welfare system to understand their experiences, needs, and desire to be part of their children’s lives;
To provide tools to assess the child welfare agency’s readiness to engage non-custodial fathers in participating in team meetings, case planning, accessing services, and reunification;
To provide new tools for assessing worker bias regarding working with non-custodial fathers.
The session closed with a question and answer session.
Randy A. Jenkins, MSW, is a social work consultant, specializing in Parent Engagement, Engaging Fathers, and Building Community Partnerships. He has over 30 years experience in child welfare systems in several states as a caseworker, program consultant, manager, and administrator. As the CEO of WillJenk Consulting Services, LLC, he has worked as a consultant over the past 10 years to states, counties, universities, and non-profit agencies, providing technical assistance and training to child welfare staff, birth parents (especially fathers), resource parents, and community partners. Randy has presented at national, state, and local conferences regarding strategies for developing Parent Engagement programs, and has conducted a number of forums, trainings and planning regarding Engaging Fathers in Child Welfare. As a Family Partner with the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, Randy consults with a number of states in planning and program and policy development, to assist them in meeting their Child and Family Services Review requirements. Randy received his BA from Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina and his MSW from the University of South Carolina.
Jeffrey Mays is a parent and has been a family advocate within child welfare for 10 years. Jeffrey’s own children were placed in foster care, and were returned to he and his wife. This experience became the basis for his continued involvement in child welfare reform. Currently, Mr. Mays is a presenter for the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services where he co-trains new social workers and potential foster parents on parent engagement, including engaging father and paternal kin. He is also a Consultant with the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. Mr. Mays has been married for 27 years, and is the father of two daughters and one son.
Listen to the Audio
Listening Time: 10 minutes
Welcome and Introductions
Overview of Today’s Teleconference and the NRCPFC Teleconference Series
Donna T. Hornsby, MSW, Senior Consultant, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, Hunter College School of Social Work