FSW Receives $544,000 Federal Health & Human Services Grant

10/15/11

 FSW Receives $544, 000 Federal Health & Human Services Grant to Provide

Effective Employment and Parenting Skills to Fathers Being Released from Prison

 FSW’s Fathers Count Reduces Recidivism Rate in Westchester

 

                PORT CHESTER, NY – Family Services of Westchester is pleased to announce receipt of a $544,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for continuation of its successful Fathers Count program, which provides parenting, job-readiness and financial literacy workshops for fathers about to be released from prison.  “For the past five years, the Fathers Count program has successfully reduced the recidivism rate and cycle of criminal involvement for hundreds of men in Westchester,” notes Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO of Family Services of Westchester.   “Fathers Count supports men who have been incarcerated and their families by helping these men find jobs, improve their parenting skills and transition back into their families and communities,” adds Marge Leffler, Vice President of Program Development for FSW.

                As part of a $150 million fund established by Congress, FSW was one of 120 grantees chosen by HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (OFA) to promote healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood.   This grant will enable the Fathers Count staff to serve a targeted population of 125 fathers annually over the course of three years. These men will include those fathers who are about to be released from incarceration, on probation supervision or in child support arrears.  Fathers Count will use a Responsible Fatherhood curriculum to teach parenting, healthy relationship and financial literacy skills in a series of ten two hour-workshops.  Individual action plans will be created and counselors and case managers will work with the men to ensure program participation and desired outcomes.

                Statistics indicate that without intervention, 80 percent of the children of incarcerated parents will be involved in the criminal justice system themselves one day. Fathers Count breaks this cycle by strengthening the families involved with the criminal justice system and empowering fathers in particular to support their children financially and emotionally. 

                One Mount Vernon dad who participated in the Fathers Count program recently sent a thank you card to the staff, noting that he is working part-time, attending school and enjoying having partial custody of his daughter. “I want to thank the staff of Fathers Count for helping me get my life back on the right track. If it wasn’t for Fathers Count, I don’t know where my life would be heading.”    

        Founded in 1954, Family Services of Westchester provides 50 social service and mental health programs that assist 30,000 people a year. With a staff of 450 people and 350 volunteers, FSW operates out of six Family Centers across the county.  For more information about the organization’s mission and programs, check out its website at www.fsw.org.

                                                               –30–

PRESS CONTACT: Colleen D. Gardephe, cgardephe@fsw.org, (914) 305-6836

PROGRAM CONTACT: Marissa Malett, mmalett@fsw.org, (914) 964-6767 ext. 21