Q) Who can join the program?
A) Midlands Fatherhood Coalition seeks to assist ambitious low-income, non-custodial fathers ages 18 and above who are currently not closely engaged with their children but who want more than anything to reconnect with them. Fathers with criminal domestic violence(CDV) convictions are not allowed to enroll except under approved circumstances. Further, fathers with other violent charges, child abuse, or sex offenses will not be allowed to enroll. A potential participant must have a child or children under the age of eighteen (18).
Q) How can you join the program?
A) A father who is interested in joining Midlands Fatherhood Coalition needs to contact our office and set up an appointment time with program staff. At this initial meeting staff will give potential participants an overview of the program, expectations, and a general assessment to determine eligibility. Also, a SLED background check is conducted on each potential participant before enrolling.
Q) What is ATI?
A) ATI or Alternative To Incarceration programs provide the court system and low income fathers with an alternative to incarceration for non-payment of child support. The focus is not to have the father avoid his financial responsibility to his children, but to assist in creating an environment that enables him to do so.
As such, the premise is twofold: 1) to connect potential incarcerated fathers with fatherhood programs designed to overcome barriers to appropriate financial and emotional support and 2) to save the state of South Carolina and taxpayers millions of dollars annually by not incarcerating the fathers who seek to reconnect with their families, but instead working with them on issues related to child support, legal issues, visitation and skill training.
Q) Is there a fee?
A) There is no cost to enroll and anyone who is an enrolled participant may take part in any event, workshop, session and etc. for free.
Q)What is the difference between a non-custodial parent and a custodial parent?
A) A custodial parent is the parent who has custody of the child(ren). A non-custodial parent does not have custody of the child(ren).
Q) Is there a mother's place or an agency that serves women and mothers?
A) There are agencies within our community that serve women and mothers; referrals to outside agencies are available.
Q) Does the project serve young males or youth in general?
A) The program only serves participants who are eighteen (18) or older and who fit the criteria of the program.
Q) When do the fathers meet as a group?
A) Fairfield County Site has weekly group sessions on Thursday evenings beginning at 5:00 pm.Meetings are held at the Site's office in downtown Winnsboro at 201 Moultrie Street. Please call the office for more directions.
Lexington County Site has weekly group sessions on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m. and on Thursdays beginning at 11:00 am at the Site's office at 943 East Main Street, Lexington, SC. Please call the office for more directions.
Richland County Site has weekly group sessions on Tuesday evenings beginning at 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm, Monday afternoons beginning at 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm at the Site's office located in downtown Columbia at 1821 Hampton Street.Please call the office for more directions.
Sumter County Site has weekly group sessions on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm, at the Site's office located at 687 N. Guignard Dr., Sumter, SC 29150. Please call the office for more directions.
Q) Who may attend your group sessions?
A) Our sessions are open to all enrolled program participants.Visitors must be approved by theProject/Site Director before attending group sessions.
Q) What is Education Assistance? Will you pay for my education?
A) Midlands Fatherhood Coalition does not pay for education. However, it does assist participants with finding opportunities and resources to secure desired education or technical training that will allow them to get a job or to get a better paying job.This includes GED classes, computer training, etc.
Q) What is Employment Assistance? Will you give/get me a job?
A) The Coalition assists participants in finding a job or finding a better paying job. We have staff to assist participants in all phases of employment including interviewing skills, job retention skills, resume preparation, etc.
Q) Will you make a child support payment for me?
A) The Midlands Fatherhood Coalition does not make child support payments; however, we assist fathers with information and referrals to ensure child support payments are correctly based on current income.
Q) Can the mother of my children make me pay back-child support?
A) No, the order for child support is mandated by the court. The mother of your children can file for child support and then it's up to the court to decide whether or not you (or the non- custodial parent) will have to pay child support.
Q)How do I get visitation with my children?
A) Midlands Fatherhood Coalition has a partnership with the SC Department of Social Services, Office of Access and Visitation. We will refer you to that office or you may use a private attorney if you can afford one. Additionally,the Coalition has pro se visitation packets and provides assistance in completing forms available to its participants. We also conduct legal workshops to provide education about the legal system.
Q) What does Pro Se mean?
A)Pro Se means to represent oneself in court without the assistance of an attorney.
Q) Are you attorneys?
A) No, but the Coalition can refer you to attorneys to assist participants with legal issues and to provide legal education.