Since 2002, DYCD has been committed to enhancing children's development through programs that encourage fathers to become personally involved with their children and relate to their co-parents. DYCD's Fatherhood Initiative helps fathers reconnect with their children and develop essential parenting skills by helping each participant (1) increase engagement and responsibility in his relationship with his child/children;and (2) provide material and financial support to his child/children. DYCD's program is informed by studies that show that children with involved fathers are less likely to get into trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood, and that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills for infants, greater patience for toddlers, and better intellectual functioning and academic achievement among adolescents. Children with involved fathers are more likely to exhibit self-control and pro-social behavior.
The circumstances confronting non-custodial fathers must be addressed in order for them to establish positive, healthy, supportive relationships with their children. These can include: reconciling the roles of adolescence and fatherhood; surmounting challenges such as unemployment or homelessness; and addressing difficulties resulting from absence due to incarceration and reentry. To do this, DYCD has two program options to address the particular needs of the target populations: Fathers aged 18 and older; and fathers with prior involvement in the criminal justice system. Programs help fathers by providing them and their children with up to six months of case management, with follow-up services as needed for up to one year, and service plans that address five core areas: parenting skills development, effective co-parenting with the child’s guardian; employment/education; child support; child visitation/placement..
DYCD's Fatherhood Initiative partners with the NYC fatherhood working group, and for the past several years has coordinated Dads Take Your Child to School Day, Mother's Day Recognition, and Father's Day events.