Sunday, October 05, 2008

Black Self Help Organization

Center For Urban Families

CFUF was founded in 1999 by Joseph T. Jones, Jr. in order to provide parenting and workforce development services to low-income fathers. In 1993, while working as a Baltimore Health Department social worker, Jones recognized that there were few resources available for fathers. This lack of resources inspired him to create the Men’s Services program under the auspices of the Baltimore Health Department’s Healthy Start program. Jones saw that the participating fathers were committed, but lacked the skills to provide for their children. Men’s Services helped the fathers to reconnect with their families, find employment, resolve child support issues, overcome addiction, and learn parenting skills. Beginning in 1998, Healthy Start introduced a three-week job training program, STRIVE Baltimore, which provided an innovative employment strategy for the hard-to-employ fathers enrolled in Men’s Services. Former City Health Commissioner Dr. Peter Bielenson and the Board of Directors of Baltimore City Healthy Start encouraged Jones’ interest in offering intensive services for fathers and supported his plan to form a new nonprofit organization for this purpose.

Our first initiatives, the Men’s Services Responsible Fatherhood program (now the Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project) and the STRIVE Baltimore Employment Training program, met with success. In 2005, CFUF established the Baltimore Building Strong Families program, a national initiative designed to assist couples with children between the ages of 0-3 months in developing the communication, conflict resolution, parenting, and life management skills necessary to develop and maintain healthy relationships. In 2006, CFUF began to provide training and technical assistance to community and faith-based organizations across the nation. Through a series of seminars, CFUF teaches organizations how to best implement healthy relationships and marriage programs using CFUF’s Exploring Relationships and Marriage with Fragile Families (ERM) curriculum.

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