Ramsey County program connects fathers to resources, creates a network

The trend of single-father households is increasing, reaching its highest levels since being tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1960.

The Minnesota Department of Health cites the need for better support for fathers.

You’ve heard it said that “it takes a village,” and Ramsey County officials say they know that’s the truth.

That’s why Ramsey County Public Health launched a program to connect parents to resources and to each other.

This particular program, Club Dad, is designed just for fathers.

During one school night in St. Paul, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with Benjamin Claassen, who was attending a Club Dad event with his 6-year-old son.

“Coming here, it’s a real network of families,” Claassen said.

Group facilitator Thomas Chatman said, “You get dads from different walks of life and it gives opportunities for dads to kind of ask those questions, pose those questions and fill in the gaps with each other and we provide the atmosphere for them.”

Chatman added that there aren’t many resources out there geared just towards fathers.

Members of Club Dad meet once a month for dinner and conversation, focusing on topics like building positive parenting relationships and tools for stress management.

“Dads need opportunities to kind of get together, to be empowered, to say ‘hey you’re doing a good job,'” Chatman said.

While their kids spent time painting, these dads had a chance to lean on each other.

“Having a space where dads can get together, hang out and talk about stuff that we have gone through as dads is great outlet for us to have,” Claassen said.

Although Club Dad is geared towards fathers, Ramsey County hosts a Club Mom, too.