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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                    

May 24, 2011

CONTACT: 609-633-8507
Lauren Kidd

Men Involved in Fatherhood Support Group Organize Annual Fishing Derby

Department of Children and Families Initiative Supports Fathers in their Commitment to Being Available, Responsible and Committed to their Children

KEANSBURG – Men involved in the fatherhood support organization Father Time, supported by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Pascale Sykes Foundation, rolled out their twelfth Family Fishing Derby on Saturday, May 21. Children enjoyed bagels, hotdogs, beach crafts, and prizes including two bicycles, trophies, and fishing rods. Parents got to sit on the sand and enjoy much deserved leisure time and pleasant weather with their children.

Through support groups, curriculum and community events, fatherhood programs like Father Time assist men in remaining available, responsible and committed to their children. Whether or not a father is living in the same home as his child, he is still an important and valuable part of the family. Fathers need support – and fatherhood programs help to fill that important need.

“I want to recognize and congratulate the men on the work they have done to be active parents in the lives of their children, and to strengthen their families and the families in their communities,” said Lisa von Pier, Director of the Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships within DCF. “I also want to encourage fathers to stay engaged and stay involved to continue strengthening their children, families and communities.”

DCF’s Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships collaborates with the non-profit organization Parents Anonymous of New Jersey to facilitate the Father Time program in South Jersey. The goal of the program is to provide support and education to men as they nurture and protect their children and deepen their father-mentor/child relationship and relationship to the community.

Men from the Monmouth County Father Time site worked together to organize the fishing derby and they were joined by their fellow Father Time members from the South Jersey groups, building a bond and a brotherhood often missing in communities today. They lent fishing rods, and provided bait and fishing coaches to participants, so everyone who wanted to could participate.

“What is unique about this program is the shared leadership of fathers and the fact they give back to the community by planning and implementing all of the community activities” said Kathleen Roe, Executive Director of Parents Anonymous of New Jersey.  “When we started Father Time in collaborations with the Keansburg School District and DCF over six years ago, there were no positive programs for fathers available.  This program was the model used to develop five other Father Time programs in South Jersey.” 

In partnership with Parents Anonymous, DCF funds Father Time groups in Bridgeton, Millville and Penns Grove. DCF formerly funded the Monmouth County group in Keansburg, which was formed in collaboration with the Keansburg Public School District and Parents Anonymous of New Jersey. The original Father Time program in Monmouth County has been funded for the past three years by the Pascal Sykes Foundation.

Father Time Project Director and outdoorsman Jeff Johnson shared: “When we started the derby six years ago, it was all uncharted waters for us. We sent flyers home in book bags inviting families to join us on the beach for a day of fishing and fun. We were shocked and thrilled to see over 200 people come streaming onto the Keansburg beach. We knew then that we had something very fun and meaningful. Eleven derbies later our guys still feel the same pride and excitement when a young child lands a fish in the shadow of their smiling parent. Shared outdoor activities are a vital platform for families to enjoy each other and develop lifelong bonding experiences. The magic and community love that springs from our members and the whole community continues to humble us all. Our members come from all walks of life. When we sit down to a weekly meeting it is all about fellowship, growing as men and dads, and expanding our energy out into the community. We try very hard to practice our vision statement.”

Membership in Father Time programs is free and open to any male in a parenting role. The Father Time project consists of professionally facilitated peer-led community based support meetings, parent education using the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad™ curriculum, and community-wide family activities, such as the fishing derby, camping trips, environmental expo, and dads retreat, which are all are member designed to serve the local community.

In addition to the Father Time initiative, DCF also funds a similar program called Fathers Empowered to Learn, Lead and Achieve Success, or F.E.L.L.A.S. This program aims to help Essex County fathers and fathers-to-be develop the attitude, knowledge and skills to become involved and stay involved with their children. The program offers courses, support groups, and a community advisory board to enlighten fathers to become ever-present protectors and providers for their families.

Grant funds issued by DCF for these programs are provided by the federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Program in the U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

Monmouth County Father Time weekly meeting are attended by fathers only. For more information on the Monmouth County program, call Jeff Johnson, Counselor, at 732 787-2007 ext 5833, or visit

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), New Jersey’s state child welfare agency, was created in July 2006 as the state’s first Cabinet agency devoted exclusively to serving and safeguarding the most vulnerable children and families in New Jersey. DCF includes the Division of Youth and Family Services, Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships and Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, and is focused on strengthening families and achieving safety, well-being and permanency for New Jersey's children.