Grants boost parenting programs

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two Pike County assistance agencies received grant funding totaling $70,000 from the State of Alabama Children’s Trust Fund this week.

The Pike Regional Advocacy Center received a $35,000 parenting grant and the Organized Community Action Program received a $35,000 fatherhood grant.

The grant was presented by CTF representatives Milton Jackson and Greg Smith.

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Mona Watson, Child Advocacy Center director, said the funds will be used for the CAC’s parenting program for individuals mandated by the courts and referred by the Department of Human Resources, East Central Mental Health or other sources.

“The CAC’s parenting program is an educational program for high school students and any young mothers and fathers and is designed to help them make responsible decisions,” Watson said. “The program teaches them all the skills needed to be good parents. Without this grant, we would not be able to provide this parenting program.”

The 2010 grant was the sixth awarded to the CAC.

“These grants have made it possible for 600 at-risk parents to attend the parenting program,” Watson said.

The OCAP fatherhood program is a court ordered program for men who have failed to pay child support.

Kim Livingston, OCAP fatherhood coordinator, said the 26-week program teaches parenting skills and also refers men for available jobs.

“What the program seeks to do is to get the participants to start paying child support,” she said. “We have materials that will assist them in applying for job and applications available. We bring in speakers who talk on subjects that will be beneficial to men.”

Livingston said that, at times, men will voluntarily enroll in the program.

“They will see the need and realize that they can benefit from the fatherhood program,” she said.

“We have between eight and 10 men participating on a weekly basis but we also track those who have completed the program to make sure they are still working. So, at any given time, we have about 45 involved in the program.”

The 2010 grant is the fourth awarded to the OCAP fatherhood program.

Watson and Livingston expressed appreciation to Jackson and Smith for the continuing support of the CTF.

“The CTF grants have made it possible for us to offer programs that we could not offer otherwise,” Watson said.

“And these programs are making a difference in the lives of many people in our area.”

Wanda Moultry, OCAP executive director, said the doors at OCAP are always open to its partners in order to better serve the community.

“We certainly appreciate the support of the Children’s Trust Fund for its support of our parenting and fatherhood programs that are so important to our community,” she said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and Rep. Alan Boothe attended the grant presentation and expressed appreciation for the support of the CTF and to the Child Advocacy Center and OCAP for a job well done in helping the people of Pike County.