Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida

History

2010

Advocate, Social Worker and Family Therapist Holly Zwerling, LMFT, LCSW and six dedicated fathers organized the FTFSF to facilitate the involvement of fathers in children’s lives through systematic and programmatic change. David Lawrence, CEO of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and founder of The Children’s Trust served as its initial fiscal agent. Incorporated with the State of Florida 2010

2011

Produced a brochure for expectant and new dads “Congratulations! Soon You Will Become a Father” which was included in informative packets given to new parents who delivered in Miami hospitals.

Partnered with the University of Miami School of Education and Human Resources (UMSOE) to increase its academic outreach and access to fatherhood research resulting in four Fatherhood Conferences bringing diverse groups of fathers and professionals together for social change.

2012

The FTFSF & UMSOE organized a “Fathers & Children Research Initiative” involving nine father focus groups and sixty fathers whose voices inspired a paper: “Understanding Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Lives” presented at the American Psychological Association’s National Meeting Certified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization

Initiated Fatherhood Facilitatiaon Support Groups which trained providers and fathers to become fatherhood group leaders and start their own neighborhood groups.

2013

The FTFSF & UMSOE organized a “Fathers & Children Research Initiative” involving nine father focus groups and sixty fathers whose voices inspired a paper: “Understanding Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Lives” presented at the American Psychological Association’s National Meeting Certified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization

Initiated Fatherhood Facilitatiaon Support Groups which trained providers and fathers to become fatherhood group leaders and start their own neighborhood groups

2014

Developed and delivered the “Fatherhood Reading Squad: Leaders for Readers Program” for MDCPS to increase the positive presence of fathers in schools by training them and inviting them in to classrooms to read or tell stories to the children encouraging literacy, participation, empathy and increase reading time between fathers and their children outside of the school environment.

In collaboration with the Florida Senate and the House, established a statewide Resolution recognizing “Fathers in Education Day and Fathers in Action & Advocacy Week.“ The initiative formally established dates in May each year to increased school participation inviting fathers and father figures to read, tell stories or share interests with children and attend parent workshops Developed and delivered the “Magic of the Brain Workshops” prevention-oriented programs for high school boys & girls focusing on how the brain develops and its effect on behavior, decision making and relationships.

The Children’s Trust acknowledged that the Fatherhood Task Force changed the paradigm of service delivery recommending that their provider agencies seriously consider developing fatherhood programs as part of their funding requests. This was acknowledged at a Bidders’ Application Training and by the CEO, Charles Auslander.

2015

Partnered with Albizu University to develop the “Fatherhood Leadership Institute “focused on the NPCL Fatherhood Development Curriculum to provide fathers with parenting and life skills for success.

In collaboration with Triumph Communications, developed two professional films on the FTFSF Programs and Training to increase partnerships and outreach to fathers. The Fatherhood Reading Squad Mentoring Training Film and Manual was created for Head Start Centers to increase father involvement in their children’s literacy. Training Seminars were delivered to Head Start professionals.

Ms. Zwerling received the Boston University School of Social Work Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with families, children and as a thought leader on fatherhood leadership initiatives.

2016

Received a capacity building grant from the Children’s Trust to continue to strengthen its operations and to be creative in its outreach to serve more fathers and father figures, expectant and future fathers.

2017

Presented the 1st Father Focus Paternal Health Care & Education Conference to raise awareness of the health and educational needs of new, expectant and future dads in planning, preparing and adapting to fatherhood as well as an indicator determining healthy birth outcomes.