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IMPACT program helps dads restore relationship with their kids while getting back on track with child support payments

(WJRT)
Published: Apr. 8, 2019 at 11:18 PM EDT
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(04/08/2019) - A program focused on restoring relationships between fathers and their children is growing in Flint.

Flint resident and father Shon Hart developed the curriculum for the course that's designed to help dads with child support issues get back on track.

The program has entered its second year thanks to continued grant funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation and Recast.

"We're teaching them strategies and tools on how to be a father, even though you're not in the home," Hart explained.

The Flint resident and father developed the curriculum for the course that's designed to help dads with child support issues get back on track.

"When we have the fathers in the program, we're giving them the tools that they need to be a better father," Hart said.

When we first met Shon Hart in November of 2017, he was mentoring a group of dads on Tuesday nights in the back of a coffee shop in downtown Flint on how to be better parents.

That experience laid the groundwork for launching the "Impact" Program in January of 2018.

"We want them to learn new strategies and techniques for how to play, just to be present," Hart said.

Hart has partnered with Genesee County Friend of the Court and

U-of-M Flint to help dads struggling with child support reconnect with their children.

Men who participate are offered assistance for child support payments, while they complete the parenting coursework.

"Some of them come for the $100," Hart noted,"but wind up establishing a relationship, that''s all we want in the first place."

Last year a dozen men completed the course. This year the program has more than doubled the number of participants thanks to continued funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation and Recast.

Hart explains why having these dads,many who don't live in the home, more involved in kids lives matters:

"When a father is involved it reduces poverty, it reduces crime it reduces suicide," Hart said. "The power of a father cross all lines, we all need our fathers, everybody."

Hart added that enrollment in the IMPACT program continues through the end of APRIL. He is also hosting "The Father Factor Conference" from 8:00am until 12 noon on April 17th at the Mott Community College Regional Technology Center building.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, click on the link to the right of this story.