Communications and Publications, Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Tel 609/258-3601; Fax 609/258-1301
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patricia Coen 609/258-5764
Date: September 11, 1997
Head of Fatherhood Institute to Address
How to Return Fathers to Families
Princeton, N.J. -- Charles A. Ballard, founder, president, and CEO of the Institute for Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization, will speak on "The Status of Fatherhood in America: How Do We Return Fathers to Families?" at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on Tuesday, September 23, at 4:30 p.m. in Robertson Hall, Bowl 5.
Founded by Ballard in 1982 in Cleveland as a local grassroots program, the institute is considered a model fathering program, "dedicated to encouraging fathers to become involved in the lives of their children in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing way." With its home-based outreach program, the institute has restored more than 3,000 fathers to their families. Fathers who might otherwise join the ranks of "deadbeat dads" find role models among the institute's outreach workers, from whom they learn the skills of modern-day fatherhood. "Most men are capable of responsible fatherhood," Ballard has said. "All we need to do is lead them to it." Now based in Washington, D.C., the nonprofit organization has opened centers in Milwaukee, San Diego, Nashville, Tenn., and Yonkers, N.Y.
Ballard's own young adult life could have served as a case study for the institute. At age 17, he fathered a child but abandoned the boy and his mother, joining the armed forces to avoid his responsibilities. Drugs and alcohol followed, as well as prison time for a crime Ballard says he did not commit. While in prison, Ballard had plenty of time to think about his son and decided to care for the boy when he was released. Ballard eventually adopted his son, earned a high school diploma, an undergraduate degree, and then a master's degree in social welfare. In 1976, while working at a hospital, he observed that numerous women were having babies out of wedlock, with the fathers nowhere to be found. He gathered the names of nearly 600 fathers who had abandoned their children, then visited and counseled the men. From that simple beginning, Ballard's institute grew into a national organization.
Ballard's talk is being sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School.