Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

The Department of Children and Families' Fatherhood Programs

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Studies have shown that children with fathers who are engaged in their lives do better. They develop healthy relationships and are less likely to have emotional or physical problems. Children who have a strong relationship with their dad are less likely to use drugs or exhibit violent or anti-social behaviors. They do better academically and are more likely to graduate from high school, pursue higher learning and be successful in their jobs.

Yet for decades, the welfare system has excluded fathers.  We have structured our public assistance programs to focus on helping single mothers rise from poverty, but have overlooked the need to support the positive role of fathers, not only for the impact they have on their children’s lives but for the entire family to succeed. Both mothers and fathers have much to offer.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is changing the focus to include fathers. We are looking at how to re-engage fathers with their children and support the whole family in their efforts to overcome struggles and improve their lives.

Some of our efforts we directly administer or financially support include Children FirstPathways to Responsible FatherhoodTransform Milwaukee Jobs, Transitional JobsCommunity Building Milwaukee, and the Supporting Parents Supporting Kids Program.

Along with a variety of community partners, we are working to connect fathers with the resources they need to acquire family and social skills, attain employment and be able to provide financial, emotional and social support for their children.