The Coast News Group

$2.5 million grant supports program to help men be better fathers

REGION — Vista Community Clinic (VCC) recently received a $2.5 million federal grant to restart its Dad’s Club, which helps low-income men become self-sufficient and be better fathers.

The program is set to begin in July 2016. It will provide dads with a case management worker who will help them set goals and connect with needed resources to beef up work force and relationship skills.

The idea is provide wrap-around services that will help fathers address all the challenges they face.

“From our work of more than 40 years with low-income populations in the area we know there is a great need for holistic, wrap-around services for dads to succeed in the work force and in fatherhood,”  Fernando Sañudo, VCC CEO, said.

Workshops will be held on communication, conflict resolution, employment training and engaging with family.

Individual referrals will be given to mental health, substance abuse and trauma services. VCC will also help fathers with health insurance, CalFresh and CalWORKS applications.

“We will provide parenting and relationship workshops in a group setting or individually,” Silvia Alcantar, VCC  program manager, said. “Job training will be determined using a Work Readiness Assessment. Referrals to community partners for employment and/or training will be made, with follow up completed until goals are met.”

Nannette Stamm, VCC’s chief health promotion officer, said low-income dads face the dual challenge of striving to become better parents and making ends meet. Pairing them with a one-on-one case management worker streamlines the process of connecting with needed education and referrals to reach their goals.

The New Pathways for Fathers and Families grant will fund the program for five years. An estimated 800 men who are fathers, grandfathers or paternal family figures will be served. The average time men are in the program is one year.

VCC will work with County of San Diego HHSA, North County Solutions for Change, North County Career Center, North County Lifeline, Community Housing Works, Vista Unified School District, Oceanside Unified School District, Vista Adult School, North County Career Center, Center for Community Solutions and Interfaith Community Services to provide dads with needed services.

VCC ran a similar program from 2007 to 2012 and served more than 600 men.

VCC has five locations in Vista and Oceanside, which provide medical services and health education.