DCF program encourages and celebrates fatherhood

DCF program helps encourage fatherhood
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - This Sunday is a special day: Father’s Day.

It is particularly meaningful for those who are learning to be better fathers.

Up until recently, the DCF Regional Office on Hamilton Street in Hartford didn’t really stand out.

But now it does. A mural has been painted to show how important fathers are.

It’s all part of an important program to encourage fatherhood.

Luis Cruz is a young father who is learning how to be a better dad to his daughters.

“There’s no notebook, nothing that’s going to teach you. I am learning being a parent is a learning process,” said Cruz, of Hartford.

Cruz is part of the Connecticut Fatherhood Initiative, a program run by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“Children do better when they live in families. Families do better for children when they are in strong communities,” said Michael Williams, Deputy Commissioner for DCF.

Friday they are celebrating fathers with a unique mural created by Corey Pane.

“I wanted to have a dad just having fun with his two little girls. And one of them is braiding the dad’s hair and just like playing dress up. Just making it fun and imaginative. And him braiding his daughter’s hair and being a good dad,” said Pane.

In the building, families meet with social workers, who say getting some fathers involved can be challenging, but rewarding.

“When we include fathers in children’s lives, they fare better in almost all parts of their lives,” said Amber Hayes, DCF Social Worker.

“It makes it more healthier for the child. And the child feels loved by an extra person and why wouldn’t a child want them,” said Theresa Watkins, DCF Social Worker.

Rayyan means the whole world to her dad, and he’s determined to be a part of her life now and always.

“Baby steps at a time, but my main goal is to make sure I am always there for my daughter,” said Cruz.

On the mural, Pane wrote: “My father is” but he didn’t finish it.

He wanted to leave that up to those who read it, because fathers can have a special meaning to their children.

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