Dr. Jeffery Johnson, President of the National Partnership for Community Leadership and Dean of the Healthy Start Fatherhood Academy, presented for our local Regional Task Force in October. The presentation focused on:
- The kinds of services fathers need, particularly in a rural setting
- What community partners can do to increase the visibility of the importance of fatherhood
- What each partner can do in their own organizations to support fathers
- Brainstorming with the Task Force to create ideas for future projects aimed toward fatherhood
In general, our world is aware of the importance of a birth parents’ health, presence, and wellbeing for the future wellbeing of their child. However (in the U.S.), we seem to be less aware of how the other people in a child’s life, besides mom, can affect their wellbeing.
In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother. (source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center)
Parents who support and nurture each other can display for a child what a supportive and nurturing relationship can look like. When their parents support their child, they’re also encouraging healthy overall social-emotional and mental development and promoting resilience to traumatic experiences.
Birth parents who have the support of a partner are more likely to continue breastfeeding through the first six months of a child’s life. Mothers can feel supported in their own health, and have support in raising a child in general.
All of these contributions make a monumental impact on the birth parent and their childs’ life.
About Dr. Johnson and NPCL
As president of National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL), Dr. Johnson has overseen the planning and implementation of two of the nation’s most significant social welfare research projects involving low-income men and fathers. Under Dr. Johnson leadership, NPCL convenes an annual international fatherhood conference that attracts policymakers, family practitioners, and parents worldwide. He was also the visionary and planning chair for the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day! Additionally, Dr. Johnson currently serves as Dean of the Fatherhood Learning Academy for the Healthy Start Technical Assistance and Support Center.
A particular focus of Dr. Johnson’s work has been on the plight of low- income men and families. He’s written curriculums, articles, and publications on the topic, and played a principal role in the passage of the first national fatherhood legislation in Congress: The Father’s Count Bill, in 1999. This legislation provided a framework for the first federal funding of fatherhood programs.
Dr. Johnson serves on many volunteer boards and has received numerous service awards, including several awards for lifetime achievement.
What We’re Doing in Southern Oregon
After the presentation by Dr. Jeffery Johnson in October, our Healthy Start Perinatal Task Force worked in small groups to share ideas about what to do with the information in our respective communities and organizations. Everyone was very excited to expand their programs to include fathers more exclusively. Multiple organization representatives are going to host staff meetings to discuss how they can move forward with this work.
If you’d like to read more about current resources for parents, partners and families, you can visit our Partner Resources page and Blog. And if you’re interested in joining any of our upcoming Perinatal Task Force meetings or seeing future topics, you can find dates and times on our website’s Event Calendar.