Mayor Tom Barrett established the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative in 2005, citing the need to combat fatherlessness, poor graduation rates for African American Boys, and increased juvenile delinquency referrals for boys of color. The issues and challenges boys and men of color face are vast, issues involving the marginalization and stigmatization of boys and men of color, both economically and educationally often leading to boys of color becoming at higher risk for criminal seduction and attraction. Along with Adverse Childhood Experiences which often results in permanent traumatic identification for boys and men of color, evidenced by delayed psychosocial development, hyper-masculinity, and multi-generational poverty. Given these challenges and circumstances, Mayor Barrett recognized the ills of fatherlessness are far larger than one man, no matter how committed or dynamic the personality, could shoulder.
Therefore the Mayor enlisted the help of community fathers and invested stakeholders to staff the MFI. The MFI is a unique opportunity to implement a comprehensive strategic approach to support fatherhood and family restoration efforts at a new level. The MFI is an inter-organizational strategy designed to build a sense of collaborative empowerment. It also serves a social action strategy that demonstrates the use of collective action to strengthen the community's response to issues confronting fathers.
Nurturing Fathers is an evidence based approach that raises awareness, impacts practice and beliefs, and creates opportunities for fathers to become successful in fatherhood. Through education, training, skill practice, and positive reinforcement fathers learn the essential basics of fatherhood.