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Research has revealed the social and financial link between father absence and family fragmentation as a core issue facing the City of Richmond. The break down of the family is a major contributor to poverty, poor health outcomes, academic underachievement, crime abuse and a growing financial commitment from taxpayers. Increased father involvement is one solution in the overall strategy to strengthen families.

family1In 2008, the Richmond City Health District launched the Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative, originally called Man Up. The Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative is a city wide collaborative effort of several agencies, organizations and individuals dedicated to the mission of "creating a community culture connecting fathers to their families". The six strategic areas of focus are:

Community Mobilization - the purpose of Community Mobilization is to connect, equip and empower a grassroots network of stakeholders working to create a community culture connecting fathers to their families.

Social Marketing - the purpose of Social Marketing is to leverage multiple media strategies in communicating the value of fathers, resulting in the creation of community culture connecting fathers to their families.

Resource Development - the purpose of Resource Development is to identify, gather and leverage information, financial, technical and human resources, resulting in a community culture connecting fathers to their families.

Policy Development - the purpose of Policy Development is to identify existing or potential policy initiatives assisting or detracting from the creation of a community culture connecting fathers to their families.

Workforce Development - the purpose of Workforce Development is to increase the employability profile and employment prospects, resulting in a creation of a community culture connecting fathers to their families.

The Initiative's work is guided by the Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative's Core Team Board composed of persons representing agencies and organizations, and individuals working in the areas of policy, programming or practice related to family strengthening and fatherhood.