10 to Graduate From D.C. Fathering Court

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 11:25 AM EDT
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Fathering Court Helps Dads Reconnect With Kids

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Fathering Court Helps Dads Reconnect With Kids

A D.C. court program is helping dads grow closer to their children. "Fathering Court" helps find jobs for men who are recently out of prison. It helps employ fathers so they can pay child support and reconnect with their children. George Minor is a graduate of the program who has a boy and a girl. Of about 54 men who have graduated from the program, court officials say, just two have been arrested again.
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Ten men will graduate from a D.C. Superior Court program that aims to help fathers who have been in prison reconnect with their children and meet child-support obligations.

Fathering Court, a voluntary program, offers job training and placement services, peer support, counseling, parenting classes and other services.

The program's fourth class will graduate Friday. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, Family Court Judge Zoe Bush, and Judge Milton Lee, who oversees Fathering Court, will preside over the ceremony.

Upon release, ex-convicts can face huge child support debts, which often lead them right back to prison. As the program's first class prepared to graduate in 2009, Lee called the program a pragmatic approach to keep dads from heading back to jail. And while the program's focus is on the financial payments, Willie Ellis -- a graduate of the program -- said that reconnecting with his kids was its own reward.

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