Jane is the head of the Social Work Library at uw-madison

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Long Distance Dads

The Long Distance Dads Program of the National Fatherhood Initiative is a character-based education and support program that assists incarcerated men in developing skills to become more involved and supportive fathers. The four objectives of the class are: nurturing, involvement, consistency and awareness. By nurturing, loving and becoming involved parents, these fathers can be positive role models to their children and at the same time, increase their communication skills and develop positive, constructive relationships that their children will develop themselves. The curriculum consists of 12 modules, each delivered in two to three hours.

Long Distance Dads focuses on universal aspects of fatherhood as well as the unique challenges faced by incarcerated fathers. Men of all cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds can benefit from the curriculum and program. The program helps inmates to:

  • Recognize and describe positive family values

  • Demonstrate an increased knowledge of parenting and family-relationship skills

  • Identify realistic strategies to connect with their families through increased appropriate contact

  • Identify realistic strategies to fulfill their responsibilities as fathers

  • Identify the effects that their behavior and incarceration have on their families

  • Develop a viable family-integration plan

  • Identify and use positive skills for dealing with issues of loss, shame, and guilt

  • Clearly communicate to their children the negative effects of incarceration, without glorifying the status of inmate or “ex-con”

Essential to the success of the program is recognizing that many inmates have been raised by their mothers or grandmothers without the presence of a father or grandfather. Without a father figure to emulate, basic fathering skills such as self-discipline, nurturing, and consistency are foreign concepts to most men in prison. The program focuses heavily on these skills.

Long Distance Dads is used in federal, state, or community correctional facilities in 19 states.


Email: programsupport@fatherhood.org

Website: www.fatherhood.org
Parenting Inside Out

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