Our vision at Cuyahoga County is to have every father in the county have a productive positive relationship with his children because FATHERS MATTER.

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Department of Children and Family Services

Department of Children and Family Services or DCFS
2006 brought many accomplishments by the DCFS Including Fathers Committee:

Locator Unit:
The Including Fathers Committee established a parent/relative locator investigation unit specializing in locating fathers and paternal relatives. DCFS has increased the rate of fathers obtaining custody and the rate of paternal relative placement as an alternative to foster placement. The unit works in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to raise agency performance related to father locating, thus meeting the legal standard of reasonable diligence.

Fatherhood Fairs:
Sponsored two annual Fatherhood Fairs to link fathers with father friendly service providers and father resources.

Internal Awareness:
The committee has sponsored an event within the Agency to raise awareness amongst employees about the importance of including fathers.

Changes to the Physical Environment:
A Fatherhood Bulletin Board helps parents find information relevant to fathers and families. Literature is also available, such as NFI's “10 ways to be a better dad” pamphlets.

DCFS is a major site for State of Ohio and all new social workers to receive training from the committee about why Fathers Matter, learn about practice and policy issues relating to responsible fatherhood, and managing fathers on their case load. The committee also provides social workers with continual training regarding issues of importance to fathers.

Case Plans:
DCFS is now required to provide each father with a reunification case plan similar to the one a mother would receive. These plans assist fathers to become the best fathers possible.

Service Providers:
The committee has increased the number of available resource providers who deliver services to assist fathers become responsible parents.

DCFS has encouraged ample visitation between fathers and their children, aiding in development of all the positive emotional attributes only a father can provide.

The committee created an internal website about how to fully include fathers in the lives of their children. This includes information on best practice and policy regarding responsible fatherhood. The website includes links to resource lists for father friendly services, such as the 211 Help Line.

The committee has partnered with the Agency statistician to develop concrete evidence regarding the effectiveness of its fatherhood practice and policy. Students at CWRU Mandel School of Social Work will develop a survey and conduct focus groups to identify the barriers preventing social workers from fully including and engaging fathers.