Child Crisis Center offers course for fathers to improve parenting skills

EL PASO, Texas - The Child Crisis Center typically assists children in troubled family situations. It serves as an emergency shelter for kids ages newborn to 16 years old.

The center is now reaching out to fathers of all backgrounds with its 24/7 Dad program.

It is aimed to help fathers improve their parenting skills and to learn form other dads.

Thursday evening, friends and family joined a group of nine men who graduated from the course.

"It's a great program. We take these guys in and we let them know strategies on being a better dad, but more importantly a better person and a better man. That will translate into fatherhood," said Russell Booth, a parent educator for the Child Crisis Center.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 24 million children in America, one in three live in a home without a biological father.

Booth said the Child Crisis Center is starting other program with fathers who have been in prison, teenage dads and Tigua Indian families.

Most recently, Booth has worked with Fort Bliss. He said officials reached out to him for assistance with families.

Some military fathers spend a lot of time away from their families when they are deployed.

"It puts a stress on the family. So they reached out to us to engage other soldiers and try to alleviate some of these problems," said Booth.

Ronnie Sanchez is a military veteran who works at William Beaumont Army Medical Center and graduated from the 24/7 Dad six-week course on Thursday.

He said he got some insight from fathers of all ages.

"It was really interesting to just to see how the times have changed and how fatherhood has changed," said Sanchez.

Sanchez said he wished a program like this one existed when he left the military and now encourages all fathers to take the course.

He said it was tough to deal with all the missed milestones his children experienced while he was deployed overseas.

"A lot of times fathers try to overcompensate when they return from their tours," he said.

Sanchez said it is not shameful to ask for help or advice.

"There's a lot of things you wish you could differently with your children, but you can only work on what you're going to do in the future," said Sanchez.

For more information, call (915) 562-7955.

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