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Grant to be used for parenting program

June 23, 1998

The Young Fathers/Supportive Parents Program of Washington County Department of Social Services has been awarded a $30,000 grant by the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

The grant is to be used to enhance services provided by the Young Fathers program by increasing contact between noncustodial parents and their children. Mediation services will be available to parents who are unable to arrange reasonable visitation between noncustodial parents and children.

Supervised visits by the social worker and parenting classes for the noncustodial parent are other services to be offered.

"We're excited about the expansion of services for our participants," said Fran Shaffer, program manager for Family Services. "Many of our young men have little or no contact with their children and there is ample evidence that fathers are a critical factor in the lives of children."

According to statistics provided by the National Fatherhood Initiative, fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school. Adolescent girls raised without fathers are more likely to be sexually active compared with girls raised in two-parent families, Shaffer said.

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The Young Fathers Program was initiated in Washington County in 1994. It serves noncustodial parents, primarily fathers, and in the past has focused on helping parents obtain employment and pay child support.

Last year the program served 113 participants. Seventy-two of the participants paid their child support through the Child Support Enforcement Division at Social Services for a total of $54,167 collected.

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