Campaign helping families across the state

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) –

There’s a new focus on fathers in our state, following a federal audit revealed the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut was putting too many children in foster care, in part because they were ignoring dads as caregivers too.

A new campaign called “Dads Matter Too” is turning the tide in Connecticut, and helping all families realize how important two parents are for a child’s development.

The mantra will be heard and seen a lot on Saturday, when several agencies around the state hold runs, walks and rallies to focus on fatherhood.

Dr. Ronald Mincy, Columbia University Social Policy professor, has spent his career studying the effects fathers have on children.

As a keynote speaker at the “Dads Matter Too” conference at Central Connecticut State University, he says it’s about time social policy reflected the important role fathers play.

Joette Katz, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, says making fathers as important as mothers in policy was a struggle, but it’s changing.

“Fathers were being ignored, we weren’t looking for them… maybe our internal bias… ‘Mom’s there, it’s okay,’ but nothing could be farther from the truth because we really know how important fathers are,” Katz said. “For at-risk children who end up in state custody, fathers become a way to stay with family when mothers have troubles.”

The movement goes beyond DCF. Research also shows, in any family, how much money a father makes is much less important than how much time he spends with his kids.

They say men do things like reading to their children, and just spending time talking with them differently than women.

Channel 3’s Kara Sundlun spoke at the Dads Matter Too conference about her own quest to find her biological father, and the healing that happened after she did.

Research also shows that children choose forgiveness to gain a father.

The changes in state DCF policy to focus on fathers has led to Saturday, Sept. 17, being a “Dads Matter Too” day.

There are family events planned in Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Middletown, New Britain and more.

For more information, or to take the pledge to be a good dad, click here.

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