Prince William County Department of Social Services to Relaunch Fatherhood Initiative with Free Pool Party Event

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The Prince William County Department of Social Services is getting ready to relaunch its Fatherhood Initiative in an effort to help fathers more effectively engage with their children. The program was put on hold during the pandemic but is scheduled to resume later this year. 

The Department of Social Services (DSS) will host a free pool party at Waterworks Waterpark in Dale City on Saturday, July 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to kick-off for the relaunch of the Fatherhood Initiative. Families can bring their children to the party, enjoy each other's company and meet new people. Everyone is welcome, and attendees should register for the event at Eventbrite under Dad’s Pool Day. 

Initially established in 2012, the Fatherhood Initiative aims to help fathers develop better communication skills and how to care for their children’s best interests. The initiative educates fathers on how to support the mothers of their children, spend quality time with their children and build strong relationships with them. 

The Fatherhood Initiative was established following a review by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) of the county’s DSS services provided to children and families. After consulting with mothers, fathers, community partners, courts and staff, VDSS found that while the county’s DSS offered excellent services, the father's voice was not heard when making decisions about their children. DSS then decided to create the Fatherhood Initiative to ensure that fathers are actively involved in decision-making processes and in the lives of their children.     

"We felt like we needed to put some emphasis on hearing from dads; getting dads involved in making decisions involving the lives of their children. Dads felt like they didn't have the support they needed to learn how to communicate with mom who has custody of the children. All of this led to the creation of this initiative to help fathers have the resources they need in order to build relationships with their kids," said Prince William County Department of Social Services Deputy Director Phyllis Jennings-Holt. 

The initiative also sponsors support groups to help answer questions fathers may have about becoming more involved with their children.  

Jeffery Faulkerson, a volunteer who helps with the support groups, said he sees big things happening when the initiative starts up again.   

"We want men in Prince William County to see themselves as change-makers in the community on behalf of children, teenagers and young adults," said Fulkerson.    

The goal, Faulkerson said, is to raise well-rounded children across the community.   

"The support groups are mainly supporting them in their individual role as fathers to their own children, but also examining what we can do as fathers together to enrich the lives of children in Prince William County," Faulkerson said.    

Jennings-Holt emphasized the initiative's importance, stating, "Empowering fathers to actively engage in the lives of their children is crucial for building strong families and a thriving community. The relaunch of the Fatherhood Initiative holds the promise of not only strengthening individual family units, but also contributing to the overall wellbeing and success of Prince William County." 

If you would like more information about the Fatherhood Initiative, please email [email protected]

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