In the fall of 2004, the Community Endeavors Foundation, a small independent foundation in Cleveland, Ohio decided to make an effort to target expectant and new fathers on a countywide basis by launching a childbirth education program designed specifically for fathers at every birthing hospital in Cuyahoga County. The Foundation has funded programs that engage and involve low income fathers in the lives of their children since 1996, but was concerned that they were not directly targeting a “magic moment” to engage fathers in the lives of their children: the childbirth process.
The Foundation chose the Boot Camp for New Dads curriculum and contacted area-birthing hospitals to recruit them for the initiative. Seven hospitals expressed enthusiastic interest in participating. Community Endeavors purchased the program licenses for each hospital and arranged for the training of staff from a total of ten hospitals in the Greater Cleveland area (3 hospitals with existing BCND programs were also included in the training).
The response from the hospitals has been inspiring. Steve Killpack, executive director of the Community Endeavors Foundation noted, "Typically, these hospitals are competitors for maternity and other services. This particular initiative is unique because all of these hospitals have placed the focus where it belongs - on the fathers, babies and communities rather than on the health providers. It has been inspiring to witness these hospital systems join together to provide such a valuable community service."
Each hospital received a $3000 grant from Community Endeavors to purchase the curriculum license from the national BCND program and cover their start-up costs. Thus, for a relatively small expense Greater Cleveland now boasts a universal program for expectant fathers in Cuyahoga, Lorain and Geauga Counties. Every new father in these three counties has an opportunity to participate in the BCND program.
The Foundation continues to support the program in a variety of ways: purchasing incentives; marketing the programs through rack cards, brochures and a website, www.neofathering.net, and sponsoring annual training for new and existing coaches and coordinators.
Nine Hospitals participate in the Greater Cleveland Boot Camp for New Dads initiative:
- Cleveland Clinic Health System, which includes Fairview, Hillcrest, Huron and Marymount Hospitals
- University Hospital Health System, which includes McDonald Women's, St. John West Shore and Southwest General Hospitals
- MetroHealth Hospital
- Community Health Partners
For more information, contact Steve Killpack, firstname.lastname@example.org