Kentucky Fatherhood Summit



The summit will provide a collaborative opportunity for social service professionals, academicians, law enforcement agencies, legislators, grassroots non-profits, faith-based organizations, fathers, and the community at large, to influence the future of Fatherhood in Kentucky. 


The summit will explore the best methods of reaching fathers for the purpose of leveraging their individual experiences and abilities for the betterment of their children, families, communities, and state. Plenary sessions will discuss the vital role of fathers in healthy childhood development and the prevention of childhood poverty.  Breakout session topics will include – Equity, Empowerment, Engagement and Economic Stability. 


Fatherhood Summit 2020


E4: Equity, Empowerment, Engagement and Economic Stability
Impacting Families and Communities through Positive Fathering
Oct. 27-29, 2020

(All times Eastern time)

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

  • Moderator: Joe Barnett, Northwest Regional Field Service Supervisor, Child Support Enforcement

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening remarks and plenary session

  • Keynote Speakers: Gov. Andy Beshear, Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Secretary Eric Friedlander, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub, Department for Community Based Services
  • Commissioner Steven P. Veno, Department for Income Support

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. E1  Session Engagement – Fatherhood and Co-parenting

  • Presenters: Armon R. Perry, PhD, Professor and Director of the BSW Program; University of Louisville-Kent School of Social Work
  • Joe Leavell, Assistant Director, Jefferson County Attorney Child Support Division

Fathers are not always top of mind when we think of family services. Engaging fathers can be challenging and, for others, perhaps, even a new concept. From years of personal experience, program implementation, teaching and research, Perry will share promising practices to reach and engage fathers. Participants will learn more about barriers fathers may encounter as they seek to participate, such as co-parenting responsibilities and hardship. Additionally, agencies will discover approaches to better engage fathers consistently, effectively and sensitively. Also in the session, Perry will share results of a recent mixed-methods study of 150 custodial mothers enrolled in an intervention aimed at increasing their knowledge of the importance of fathers’ involvement and their receptiveness to co-parenting.

Local Focus, A Highlight of Hardin County Attorney’s Office

  • Presented by Assistant County Attorney, Alison Blaiklock, Hardin County Assistant County Attorney

This section of the session will focus on navigating the landscape of co-parenting and positive involvement in the lives of their children. Hardin County engages fathers by creating positive, productive interactions with case managers, providing social prevention and economic intervention early in the case and following through with set expectations for fathers. The goal is participation through payment and communication by creating an environment in which a non-custodial parent’s first call is to our office, whether to report a life event affecting payment, loss of job or gaining employment.

Noon – 1 p.m. Workshops

Workshop One: Custody, Parenting Time and Navigating Kentucky Courts in the Best Interests of Children

  • Presenters: Simone Beach, Attorney, Custody and Visitation Hotline, Legal Aid Society, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Neva-Marie Scott, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society, Louisville, Kentucky

Parents, grandparents and other child caregivers often must navigate a variety of legal issues when caring for children following separation or divorce, when the child has a different biological parent and through placement with a caregiver when a child needs to move to a different environment. From parenting time to custody, the Legal Aid Society Custody and Visitation Hotline takes calls from child caregivers daily on a multitude of issues. This workshop will provide an overview of the laws related to custody and parenting time, while also giving practical tips for navigating the court processes needed to accomplish various legal matters related to raising children.

Workshop Two: Overcoming Barriers – Expungement and Other Services

  • Presenters: Kristin Porter, Director of the Division of Reentry Services, Department of Corrections
  • Robert Taylor, Reentry Employment Program Administrator, Department of Corrections
  • Matthew Aaron, Justice Program Administrator, Department of Corrections
  • Melanie Foote, Education and Strategic Planning Branch Manager, Department of Public Advocacy

Navigating society for justice-involved persons and their families can be difficult. Numerous barriers are likely to prevent them from being successful. A variety of services are out there to assist this specific population in becoming a pro-social individual and not reentering the criminal justice system. This workshop will address the benefits available to those justice involved and specific services offered by the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. E2 Session

Empowerment – Fatherhood 101

  • Presenter: Dr. David Weisenhorn, Ph.D., NCC; Senior Specialist for Parenting and Child Development, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

This session will focus on understanding how to empower fathers as positive role models for their children and families and as leaders in their communities, as well as understanding and working through barriers that may prevent fathers from engaging in your programs.

  • Presenter: Kelli Root, Out-of-Home Care branch manager, Division of Protection and Permanency Department for Community Based Services (DCBS)

The Out-of-Home Care Branch administers programs that focus on prevention services and supporting youth in care and parents. DCBS works to shift practicess to better identify support and provide services to fathers involved in the child welfare system.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

  • Moderator: Gavin Sewell, Executive Advisor, Department for Income Support

9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening remarks and plenary session

The Commonwealth and the Father

  • Speaker: David Cozart, Director of the Lexington Leadership, Fatherhood Initiative and President of the Commonwealth Center for Fathers and Families

Kentucky and fatherhood have a history and ever-evolving relationship that began before the turn of the century. From the perspectives of both practitioner and participant, Cozart will discuss involvement in Kentucky’s fatherhood efforts over time, including advocacy, awareness, program development, project implementation and participation.

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. E3 Session

Economic Stability – Prioritizing and Enhancing Father Engagement

  • Presenter: James Murray, Senior Advisor, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families

Integrating approaches that prioritize and enhance father engagement is an important topic to the leadership and staff at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). ACF strongly encourages all human service agencies to work together across governments to jointly create and maintain an environment that prioritizes father engagement as a critical factor in strengthening families.

  • Presenter: Jason Dunn, Director of the Division of Family Support, Department for Community Based Services (DCBS)

A snapshot of state government benefits available to fathers and families to support economic needs. Kentucky families sometimes need assistance from available safety net programs when they hit rough times. This portion of the session will explain how DCBS programs work and intersect with efforts to support fathers and families, helping all families achieve their fullest potential.

Local Focus, A Highlight of Henderson County Attorney’s Office

  • Presented by Henderson County Attorney Steve Gold and Assistant County Attorney Kyle Evans

Recognizing that at the heart of every child support order is a child who has a family connection to each parent that transcends the judicial system, the Henderson County Attorney’s Office is committed to implementing more collaborative approach to child support collection efforts. The benefits of moving away from the traditional model, which overly relies on punitive measures, will be highlighted. We will discuss the many lessons learned from our efforts - both successful and unsuccessful - for other jurisdictions wishing to make a similar shift. Most recently, a successful program was created to improve job skills and find employment for chronically unemployed child support obligors facing incarceration. The process of forging this partnership between obligors, the court system, non-profits and private employers will be outlined along with a preliminary analysis of outcomes.

Noon – 1 p.m. Workshops

Workshop One: Public Benefits – Food Stamps (SNAP), KTAP, Disability Benefits, WIC

  • Presenters: Katina Miner, Director of Advocacy, Kentucky Legal Aid, Bowling Green
  • Cory Dodds, Leads Benefits Attorney, Kentucky Legal Aid, Bowling Green

Public benefits, such as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, KTAP and disability benefits can provide a major helping hand to many families facing hard times. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to navigate these programs. Learn about available public benefits programs, the assistance legal aid can offer if you encounter problems with these programs and the impact public benefits can have on child support cases.

Workshop Two: Legal Aid Society Services and Preparing Life Planning Documents

  • Presenter: John Young, Managing Attorney, Intake and Limited Services, Legal Aid Society, Louisville

Having an up-to-date will, power of attorney and living will are essential to good life planning. Life planning documents are about more than having a will and planning for unfortunate events. They include planning to have the right documents ready, when and if needed, so your children have what they need and your family knows your wishes about critical medical decisions in the event that you need care but are unable to speak for yourself. Young will provide information about the various types of life planning documents, an overview of civil legal services available through the Legal Aid Society and the process for requesting those services.

1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. E4 Session

Equity – Recognizing and Addressing Inequities to Promote Fatherhood Capacity to Promote Child Well-being

  • Presenter: Dr. Antonio Garcia, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky College of Social Work

The absence of empathy for fathers and how engagement is bent more towards the maternal side can manifest in perpetuating inequities in all its forms across child/family service systems. Biases, both implicit and explicit, and cultural insensitivity are explored – and perhaps ways to mitigate these challenges.

Local Focus, A Highlight of Jefferson County Attorney’s Office

  • Presented by Jefferson County Attorney’s Office – Child Support Division staff
  • Joe Leavell, Assistant Director
  • Tracy Thomas, Ombudsman
  • Lauren Ingram, Legal Director
  • Natalie Tindal, Enforcement Supervisor

Staff from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office will explore in-depth their experiences providing services to the diverse population of Jefferson County. Among them are unique challenges, interpreter issues, cultural differences, housing insecurity and many other considerations that come with being the most populous county in the commonwealth. They also will share strategies for successful communication.

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

  • Moderators: Gavin Sewell, Executive Advisor, Department for Income Support
  • Joe Barnett, Northwest Regional Field Service Supervisor, Child Support Enforcement

9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening remarks and plenary session

  • Speakers: Scott M. Lekan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Commissioner of Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Clarence H. Carter, Director of the Office Family Assistance and Acting Director of the Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lekan and Director Carter jointly will discuss the federal perspective on helping fathers and families achieve economic stability.

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Final Session

E4 Everyone – Creating a Successful Statewide Coalition

  • Presenter: Patricia Littlejohn, President, South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families

Promoting and institutionalizing fatherhood engagement, empowerment, equity and economic stability to further enhance life outcomes of children and families can feel like a herculean undertaking - and, it is. However, many hands make lighter the work. Patricia Littlejohn, a pioneer and national ambassador in the field of fatherhood, will share how work of the SC Center for Fathers and Families for nearly 20 years has established a statewide, interdisciplinary approach that includes fathers, service providers, child support agencies, healthcare providers, schools and more.

11 a.m. – Noon Panel Discussion

E4 Panel Discussion – E4 Life

  • Panelists: Jennie Haymond, Madison County Attorney
  • Stacey Tapke, Kenton County Attorney
  • Denise Brown, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge
  • Devine Carama, Believing in Forever, Inc.; Kentucky, LLC, Father, Artist, Activist
  • Community Partner: Lynn Hulsey, Director of Programs, Family Enrichment Center

The 2020 Kentucky Fatherhood Virtual Summit concludes with a panel discussion with those that are closest to the issues. The goal is to open a dialogue around what happens in real life and what we can do together to impact children and families across the commonwealth through fatherhood efforts and engagement.

Noon – 12:15 p.m. Closing remarks and goals for 2021

  • Speakers: Commissioner Steven P. Veno, Department for Income Support
  • David Cozart, Director Lexington Leadership - Fatherhood Initiative, President Commonwealth Center for Fathers and Families
  • Lily Patteson, Director, Division of Child Support Enforcement

Note: All moderators, panelists, speakers and presenters listed are subject to change.


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