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OJJDP-Sponsored Program Helps to Strengthen Bonds between Young Fathers and Their Children

OJJDP News at a Glance

By Dana Watson

A haven in the Hampton Roads community for more than 100 years, The Up Center of Norfolk, VA, works—through a variety of programs—to strengthen families, protect children, empower families in crisis, and maximize independence for people with disabilities.

The center is a recipient of OJJDP’s fiscal year 2016 Second Chance Act Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers, Young Mothers, and Their Children grant. The initiative supports efforts to improve outcomes for young parents returning from detention, out-of-home placement, or incarceration. It also aims to reduce recidivism and promote public safety.

With the help of the OJJDP grant, The Up Center is now able to provide prerelease and postrelease services to young fathers, helping to guide them and change their way of thinking as they reenter society. Through our Strengthening Fathers program, we provide comprehensive, transitional services to young fathers ages 16 to 24 who have been selected for a prerelease program. The goal of the program is to facilitate reentry by promoting family engagement and healthy relationships.

Participants receive essential services and assistance with case management, child support and child custody issues, parenting classes, job development skills, and mentoring. Services are offered in both group settings and one-on-one sessions. The young men also benefit from referrals to community resources, family reunification assistance, GED assistance and preparation services, transportation assistance, and other support services.

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