MANSFIELD -- Richland County Children Services (RCCS) and The Starts Within Program, will be honoring three local fathers who successfully completed the agency’s first “The Father Within Parenting Workshop.”

The fathers will be recognized, Monday, Oct. 5 as part of a special program from 12:30 to 2 p.m., at Richland County Children Services, 731 Scholl Rd., in the Futty Learning and Training Center.

RCCS partnered with Starts Within, Founder Carlos Christian, who facilitates the free 8-session workshop designed to engage fathers who need support as well as fathers who are seeking to improve their parental skill set. The sessions include: Legalities of Fatherhood, Building Parental Influence through Powerful Interactions, and The Art of Listening. 

“The workshop addresses getting fathers established with the courts as being a father, Christian said. “Fathers learn about a shared parenting plan, a parenting time order, how to navigate the child support system, the things that present themselves as barriers to fathers being able to do what they do as far as parenting their children. Co-parenting and interacting with your children in a positive way is very important” said Christian, who is a father of three.

“We also assisted the fathers with employment and other social service referrals."

The Father Within Parenting Workshop, is an Ohio Commission on Fatherhood funded program. The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood is a state-wide commission whose mission is to enhance the well-being of Ohio's children by providing opportunities for fathers to become better parents, partners and providers. 

Carlos Christian started the nonprofit organization, Starts Within, to provide reentry support to incarcerated men, their significant others and their children. When Christian was a teenager, he received a 10-year prison sentence due to his involvement in the drug trade. While he was incarcerated at The Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, Christian took steps to better himself as a man, a father and a leader. He graduated from Marion Technical College with a degree in Business Management with a 3.84 GPA, and he completed an Administrative Office Technology vocational program.

Upon his release, Christian moved to Columbus, Ohio where he gained custody of his son and began mentoring men incarcerated in county jails and prisons. Having spent ten years in prison, Christian understands not only the personal challenges of incarceration, but also what it’s like to parent from behind bars.

Christian has written three books, including his latest “The Greatest Responsibility: Becoming the Parent Your Child Deserves.”

Christian and the fathers will be available for interviews to discuss how the workshop has impacted their lives.

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