A Safe Place for Women and Their Children
Faye Peterson House (FAYE) provides a safe shelter and caring services, giving women and their children the opportunity to transform their lives, turning crisis into opportunity for change. FAYE is an inclusive, community based, feminist organization which operates within an Anti Racism/Anti Oppression framework and collaborates with men who are also striving to these same goals. They are committed to societal change to achieve social justice for all women, youth and children through public education, policy development and advocacy. They are also mentoring mindfulness attitudes with their colleagues joining passions to hold people who are abusers of violence against women and children accountable through fair application of the laws (including prosecution) and provision of therapeutic programming.
One of the ways FAYE is able to help children and families in our community is through the Caring Dads program which is funded by donations to the United Way of Thunder Bay. Caring Dads is a 17-week program focusing on fathering. The Fathers in this program have, or are at risk of, maltreating their children or who have been violent towards their families. Caring Dads’ primary commitment is to the safety and well-being of women, men and their children. The program goal is to support fathers to improve their relationship with their children and to help their children grow into healthy adults. It helps them become more aware of and responsible for the impact their use of abusive behaviour has on their child and move towards developing healthy fathering strategies. A child-centred approach to fathering is taught where fathers are encouraged to recognize and prioritize their children’s needs while taking responsibility for their abuse and engaging with their children in a more empathetic and nurturing way.
Through the Caring Dads program, Charlie*, a father with a history of violent behavior, has shifted from being adamant his son belongs with him because "he is the dad", even though the child has been in a loving foster family for 2 years and thriving. Charlie is starting to see his own history of not having his father in his life. This abandonment was clouding his view of what was best for his child. He also realized his feelings towards his own father, and other authority figures, were impacting his thoughts and decision making. Charlie is now considering not fighting the adoption process so that his son can remain in a stable, loving home and one where he would be given an opportunity to have a positive relationship with him. Working within the Stages of Change Model, this is an example of precontemplation (I’m his Dad, I get to have my son and not anyone else) to contemplation (I might have to decide as his Dad, that others may be able to give my son things I am unable to give him.) Charlie will continue to receive supports to help him deal with the personal issues that affect his ability to be the main caregiver of his son. He hopes to work towards a future where he and his son can be together full time in a healthy and loving relationship and break the cycle of violence in their family.
Faye Peterson House is in a confidential location, but can be reached at 345-0450.
*name has been changed