Care Net’s Fatherhood Project Has A Generational Impact

A young couple was seriously considering an abortion before they visited the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center in Boerne, Texas.

However, after seeing an ultrasound of their baby and meeting with the pregnancy center staff, they began to rethink their decision. When the father begins to have a change of heart, he meets with the center’s male advocate, and asks how he can best support his girlfriend during the pregnancy. The couple not only decided to have their baby but also signed up for parenting classes at Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center.

Part of the parenting training is Care Net’s Doctor Dad Course, an integral part of the organization’s Fatherhood Project. Care Net currently works with 20 pregnancy centers and is leading a movement to reach out to men involved in unexpected pregnancies and offer them education and support in the initial steps of fatherhood. The Doctor Dad® Course has eight sessions on how fathers can support their pregnant partner and newborn baby.

“We praise God for the generational impact that comes when every father engages with his child from the very beginning and accepts God’s call to lead his family to an abundant life,” said Alex Hettinga, Care Net’s Fatherhood and Family Senior Manager.

Testimony from the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center reinforces the notion that a father is the most influential voice in a woman’s pregnancy decision.

“The father of the baby plays a bigger role in a woman’s decision to choose life or abortion than you might expect,” Hettinga said.

Over the past few years, Care Net has conducted two national surveys – one in 1,500 women who have had an abortion and one in 1,000 men whose partners have had an abortion. In those surveys, both women and men agreed: when deciding whether or not to abort their baby, their baby’s father was the MOST influential voice.

Care Net’s 2023 Fatherhood Project is a $400k initiative that funds programs at 20 pregnancy centers along with training, resources, and site visits. Fathers show measurable growth in their knowledge, planned interactions, and skills around 12 key skills for their partner’s and child’s health, Hettinga says. They are also introduced to the gospel and the heart of God through weekly devotionals. Graduates were celebrated by their centers with events at minor and major league baseball games, at ax throwing sites, and at BBQs hosted by partner churches.

Jared Clark, the Fatherhood Champion at the Skylark Clinic in Brunswick, Georgia, said the project has helped many fathers gain the confidence they need as they prepare for their child’s arrival.

“Being able to serve more men in our centers and attract them to Doctor Dad is the most important part of this project,” he said. “Having resources to help men be better fathers has allowed us to see an increase in the number of women who walk away from abortion-minded and choose life because we are connected to the baby’s father .”

Robert Barge, the Fatherhood Champion from First Choice Pregnancy Center in Montgomery, Alabama, called the Doctor Dad course a tremendous resource.

“It’s been a major part of serving the dads we serve…It’s also opened up great one-on-one opportunities with dads who sign up when we go through the first session with them,” he said.

To date in 2023, pregnancy centers affiliated with Care Net’s Fatherhood Project have served a combined total of 4,200 fathers, which is a 42% increase over the previous year. They have enrolled over 750 men in the program, and over 300 have graduated.

“As the centers in this project reach more men and equip fathers from the very beginning, precious lives are saved from abortion and families are affected for generations,” said Hettinga. “It’s an honor to invest in these incredible leaders and see the new hope they bring to their communities and our national movement.”

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