JFCS of the Suncoast's Ignite Program Selected in a National Evaluation Project for the Responsible Fatherhood Program

The Giving Coast

The Responsible Fatherhood grant is one of two grants awarded to JFCS of the Suncoast by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to fund its entire Ignite program, which promotes “strong, healthy family formation and maintenance, responsible fatherhood and parenting, and economic stability.” 

Last fall, JFCS received a $1.49 million Responsible Fatherhood grant for its Ignite program and is among nine other Responsible Fatherhood programs in the US that were selected to participate in the highly competitive federal evaluation project, Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF).

“JFCS is very pleased and honored to be selected to participate in the evaluation project," says Arthur Lerman, JFCS President/CEO. "Our selection is a reflection of the hard work of our staff in effectively implementing this important federal program. This program is an important part of our Building Strong Families program."

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the polic research organization MDRC will oversee a collaborative examination by Ignite and SIRF to increase fathers’ involvement in Responsible Fatherhood programs. The organizations will co-design and test strategies that will assist Responsible Fatherhood programs nationwide in overcoming implementation challenges such as recruiting and registering fathers and keeping them actively engaged in services. Research findings will be released throughout the course of the project. They will help SIRF build evidence to improve program effectiveness and introduce opportunities for future research.

To encourage participation in the Ignite program and reduce engagement barriers, JFCS is testing out new coaching strategies for fathers and providing economic support for them and their families during their participation. 

“JFCS’ supportive coaching strategies will encourage fathers and father figures to take an active role in reshaping their lives," shares Katelyn Kopakin, Program Director, REACH & Ignite. "The Ignite program will support them in achieving self-sufficiency and in acquiring advanced leadership skills that are essential to building a positive family environment for themselves, their partners, and their children."

Ignite staff will recruit and engage 250 fathers and father figures annually through the end of 2025. Fathers or father figures who live in Sarasota or Manatee Counties, and are interested in learning more about the Ignite program, should contact Katelyn Kopakin at 941-366-2224, ext. 109 or KKopakin@JFCS-Cares.org

For more information, visit JFCS of the Suncoast here.

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