May 8, 2014

South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families connects with health care providers

Three representatives from the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families (SCCFF) recently spoke to the Congregational Nursing Program of the Spartanburg Area to expand health care access and education for fathers in Upstate South Carolina. Kelly Walker, executive director of the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition, Andre McCullough, site director of the center’s Spartanburg office, and Dawn Pender, project director of Access to Healthcare, provided information to the group about SCCFF’s upstate programs. 

They discussed how a health component has worked at SCCFF fatherhood programs around the state, as well as how health care providers in the Spartanburg area could help with the center’s men’s health curriculum, and offer health screening and services to the fathers in its upstate programs.

Providing access to health care is a core service of SCCFF. The demographics of the population served in the fatherhood programs reflect a vulnerable population of predominantly African-American, low-income, non-custodial fathers who struggle to provide financially for their children. Lack of health insurance and education, poor health habits and a mistrust of systems, including health care, often result in the fathers ignoring conditions and suffering multiple health problems.

The non-judgmental, trusting environment existing within the fatherhood programs has proven to be ideal for introducing and integrating fathers into existing community health care services. Those realizations led to the hiring of a nurse practitioner to visit four of the center's locations to conduct critical health screenings for low-income fathers who would otherwise not have had access to such care. And, the center continues to push for additional health care-related services for fatherhood participants by aggressively pursuing grant opportunities in this area.

SCCFF is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System that supports six fatherhood programs in 12 communities across the state while promoting father-friendly policies and practices, and helping to erase society's negative stereotypes of unwed, low-income dads.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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