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The David Cardno Fatherhood Initiative was created in 2000 by the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition to address the issue of father absence within the county.

The Center provides valuable support to encourage men to become more involved and committed fathers by offering parenting classes to all fathers, legal assistance for those fathers who are separated from their children, and parenting workshops to other agencies.

Did you know?

  • One in every three children will go to bed in a home with no father present.
  • A divorce rate of 50% and an unwed birth rate, which has soared to 45% over the last 30 years, have resulted in a fatherhood crisis.
  • In Martin County the divorce rate is higher than the national level; births to unwed parents has risen to almost 50%.

In the physical or emotional absence of a father, children are:

  • Twice as likely to be involved in crime
  • 77% more at risk of physical abuse
  • Five times more likely to live in poverty
  • Twice as likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Twice as likely to become pregnant as teenagers

Children with involved fathers display:

  • Better cognitive outcomes even as infants
  • Higher self-esteem and less depression as teenagers
  • Higher grades, test scores, and overall academic
  • Lower levels of drug and alcohol use
  • Higher levels of empathy and other pro-social behavior

The David Cardno Fatherhood Initiative's Acitivities Are Focused on Five Major Areas

Fatherhood Education

  • Participation in childbirth education at Martin Memorial Hospital
  • Fatherhood Classes at the Martin County Jail

Strengthening Families

  • Promotion of Paternity Acknowledgement for unwed Fathers
  • Monthly family law forums to address issues separating fathers from children
  • For related information, visit:
    dor.myflorida.com/dor or www.circuit19.org

Individual Counseling for Fathers

  • One on One counseling
  • Group session counseling
  • Home Visits
  • For related information, visit:

Positive Role Modeling

  • Public awareness and special events to highlight responsibly fatherhood
  • Take Your Dad To School Day
  • For related information, please visit All Pro Dad

Teen Prevention

  • Responsible Parenting Education for all youth in Martin County
A father and son walking