Lead Father Work Coordinator
PERSONAL PROFILEThe Fathers Group was launched to help support fathers and it is coordinated by me Jeff. I am also commonly known as TJ.
My work with Men began in 1994, when I became a case worker volunteer with the organization Prison Link. Prison Link which is in partnership with the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, are funded to provide support to offenders. My involvement with Prison Link led me to working with men in Prison but also in the community following discharge from custody.
My work with the Criminal Justice system, in resettling offenders, includes the following:-
- Prison Service
- Domestic home visits
- Race relations meetings
- Employment placements
- Working in conjunction with the Probation Trust
- Client custody interviews and resettlement surgeries
- Assessment of client needs suffering loss of liberty and varied administration tasks
- Liaising with local organisations
My interest in working with men grew as I met many of all ages who were disillusioned, had lost hope, or hope within themselves, and believed they had nothing to offer their families or their communities. Many had low self esteem, had never achieved and so believed they could not. Some men internalised their failure and displaced this in various ways upon their partners and families, which led to separation from partners, Children and extended families. The majority of these men were fathers, and as I worked with them I watched their lives transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly, believing in themselves again and excelling to achieve.
This resulted in some men obtaining employment for themselves, gaining access to their children because they demonstrated genuine changes in their lives. They have also moved forward and obtained healthy relationships. In addition, they have developed greater self awareness in order to make better decisions and choices for themselves.
From 2007 to 2011, I became an Agency employee for the Directorate of Children and Families ‘Flying Start, which is now named "Foundation Years Parenting Support Team". During this period when I worked with fathers I established 4 fathers groups, within the hard to reach areas, this was replicated within other Children Centres across the City of Birmingham. The fathers groups were well attended, consisting between 10 to 21 fathers. Each week I had an attendance of 8 to 10 fathers. Now I have established 6 successful fathers groups across the City.
I have given presentations for the fathers group at various hotels, Probation, Job centres, and the International Convention Centre, to share how I engage fathers. In effect I received referrals from Solicitors, Probation officers and Social Workers, and as a result it was attended by a few fathers.
In 2011 I delivered a ‘Promoting Happier Parenting course’ within HMP Birmingham, to encourage positive relationship building with fathers who were visited by their children and families in Prison. This encouraged father’s to positively engage with their children, and to improve themselves.
To this end I encouraged fathers with no or few qualifications to engage in a range of training opportunities. As a consequence, some has involved themselves in voluntary work. During this period, 12 men found paid employment.
My work is supported by written testimonies given by fathers, and the result has changed lives for the better.
The activities and training courses are focused around issues concerning social and anti social behaviour, conflict and positive management resolution, sexual health and healthy eating for children and families. Paediatric first aid towards protecting children, domestic abuse and safeguarding children and families. Parallel play with father and child with involved arts and crafts activities, and promoting positive communication with children. Cooking and teaching fathers to positively engage with their children, alcohol and the risk to baby and mother, and fathers building positive relationships with children through a parenting course and more....