Back in 2000, a pair of executives in local social services programs in Carroll County, Maryland, put together a program called Dads Works which they intended to provide assistance to men from primarily low-income backgrounds that were having trouble meeting their child support obligations and staying connected with their children. As justification for Dads Works the program’s originators point to statistics which show that children growing up without a father present in their homes are much more likely to have trouble with substance abuse, criminal activity, and emotional problems.
Boys are particularly susceptible to get in trouble with the law and end up in prison without their father around, whereas girls are much more likely to get pregnant in their teen years. Additionally, boys in homes with fathers are more confident, have better overall success at school and demonstrate better skills regarding social interaction.
The structure of the Dads Works program requires a participant to attend a total of 24 classes spread out over four general discussion topics like child rearing and relationship skills. Each class is one hour long and a participant must attend at least six classes in each general topical area.
The local court system holds the program in very high regard, and in fact, many of the participants are actually court-ordered to appear. There are also those who attend under the advisement of their attorneys who know that a successful completion of the program will look good to a family law judge during child custody and support disputes.
The program does not charge participants fees to attend its classes although it is estimated that it costs about $1,000 to put a person all the way through the program. Until 2009 Dads Works was receiving money from the state to fund their operations, but the state has since stopped that funding due to budget constraints. Dad Works is officially listed as a 503(c) non-profit so any donations can be claimed for tax purposes.
Source: Carroll County Times, “Richard Haddad: Dads Works making positive difference” Richard Haddad, May. 10, 2014