The Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative (SCFI) is a community-level program of the Retreat Inc, a nonprofit organization that has offered shelter, counseling, advocacy, and supportive services to victims of domestic violence since 1987.
The SCFI program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Assistance (OFA). A major emphasis of the program is to enhance economic stability, responsible parenting, and healthy relationships that will provide positive outcomes for fathers and youth. The goal of the program is to assist low-income, at-risk fathers to prevent incidences of family/domestic violence and overcome challenges that inhibit them from being a responsible father to their children and positive support to their intimate partner/wives.
The majority of the men in our program are facing unemployment and/or living below poverty level and have some type of involvement with the criminal justice system. Most of them are struggling with:
- Developing and/or maintaining healthy relationships with their children and their intimate partner/wives
- Learning how to parent or co-parent effectively
- Being able to support themselves and their families financially
The Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative engages such men proactively and inspires them to participate in a series of catalytic skill building, group and individual activities designed to leverage and activate their strengths. This will:
- Increase men’s knowledge and strategies for making healthy relationship decisions
- Adjust/fine tune expectations for marriage and long term relationships
- Reduce inter-partner and family violence
- Increase positive connection between participants and their children (biological or other children in the environment)
- Improve the quality of men’s co-parenting relationships
- Improve parenting skills
- Increase employment opportunities
- Increase the economic stability for families
- Decrease frequency of repeat criminal offenses