ELECT Team Reflects on Teen Fatherhood

Posted on October 1, 2018
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Categories: Featured FACEs

Members of the ELECT Team recently attended “Let’s Connect,” a conference celebrating Public Health Management Corporation’s (PHMC) Focus on Fathers’ 15 years of service in Philadelphia. The conference objective was, “to increase the focus on healthy fatherhood through connection and collaboration.” Lamar Brennan, ELECT Program Coordinator, was invited to serve as a panelist to share about ELECT’s fatherhood services and discuss how organizations can work in partnership to support young dads. Lamar shared one of the key challenges he sees young fathers face is unfair stereotypes and expectations that reduce fatherhood to a financial or “breadwinner” role only.

Young fathers are often overlooked when it comes to resource development and conversations around supports for teen parents. While the vast majority of research has focused on young mothers, there is evidence that young men who have experienced hardships in childhood are more likely to become fathers before adulthood. It is also clear that young fathers are at risk for academic struggles and leaving school prior to graduation. Something that is not as widely promoted is that evidence tells us how beneficial teen fathers are and how much their involvement impacts positive outcomes for a young mom, the child, and their own success.

Photo credit: Congreso de Latinos Unidos/ELECT Summer Programming

The ELECT program has been serving young fathers in school for twenty years. ELECT participants receive individualized services, home visits, incentives to promote and celebrate achievement, job readiness education, and more. Young fathers in ELECT participate in general program activities like the young dad you see in this photo, multi-tasking in an art enrichment session offered this summer through Congreso de Latinos Unidos, an ELECT Provider Agency.

Additionally, the program offers multiple fathers-only events that provide spaces where fathers can come together for peer support, mentoring, and education.

Engaging young fathers can be challenging work, and it requires ongoing assessment and inclusion of father-friendly and evidence-informed practices. Check out these resources for more information and best practices in supporting young fathers, or to start a Father-Friendly Check Up at your school or agency.

To reach ELECT for more information about our work with young fathers in schools or to connect a young dad to the program, please contact ELECTinfo@philasd.org or call 215-400-4250.