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New Group Plans to Give Dads a Voice

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--Several agencies in Linn County are coming together to have an open discussion about fatherhood our community.

They are doing it through a focus group called Dads Voice Project.

The goal is to have a real conversation. Some dads in Linn County are not involved in their kid's lives because of certain barriers.

Those barriers are what Dads Voice Project hopes to dissect and correct.

"One of my children got adopted with me not even having a clue with what happened," said Robert Jackson.

"She had a civil protection order against me, so it was very difficult for me to even just see my kids," said Darin Kriener.

Different experiences with a similar outcome, that's what these men have been through and that's what dads voice project hopes to change.

"What we're seeing here in Linn County is that there is a need for dads to become more involved with their children's lives," said Ashley Hopkins, from Partnership for Safe Families, but certain situations have made it difficult for them to do so.

"When you look at the system, it more so serve mothers. So dads immediately run from being able to get the supports needed and sometimes, dads are not even invited to participate," said Frederick Newell, Founder of The Dream Center.

From domestic violence cases to families simply being separated, Frederick Newell says the department of human services fails to get fathers involved when it's time to determine the welfare of their children.

"Cause what you find is dads want to be active. Dads want to be involved but no one is including them," said Newell.

So the plan is to have fathers throughout the community come together to talk about gaps they see and how build a better path way to fatherhood.

"How many times will your kids say, my dad taught me this and it's priceless and it will never change, but if we don't engage and we aren't there and we allow other things to block us from doing that, then our kids don't get that blessing," said Robert.

Dads Voice Project meets for the first time on June 11th at the living waters church from 5:30 to 8pm.

They say fathers and father figures are welcome to voice their concerns.
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