The El Paso County Department of Human Services was one of only seven public community partners to be honored recently with the 2021 Army Partnership Award in recognition of work with Fort Carson. The Center on Fathering brought curriculum to Fort Carson soldiers and families under the Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program.

“El Paso County has an outstanding record of working closely with community partners to expand and improve programs and services to residents,” said El Paso County Administrator Bret Waters. “This federal award is a wonderful recognition of the never-ending efforts of DHS staff to help families.”

The Center on Fathering partnership with the post aims to prevent child abuse by encouraging father-child relationships, cultivating bonds, strengthening attachment, encouraging communication, and building family resilience. Ninety fathers have graduated from the 15-week course, and the program has received overwhelming positive feedback from participants showing the need for and importance of programs specifically designed for fathers. The Department of the Army recognizes that the partnership enhances quality of life for soldiers and families, while improving Army readiness and building even stronger bonds between Fort Carson and the community at large.

“The Center on Fathering was one of the first programs of its type in Colorado, and we are thrilled that the ongoing work of DHS staff has been recognized,” said Stacie Kwitek, executive director of El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS). “Supporting fathers and families with knowledge and skills to be the best they can be is an important part of DHS efforts.”

The Army Partnership Awards Program seeks to highlight examples of exceptional cooperation and diligence that will encourage continued collaboration to achieve the full potential of community partnerships. Awardees included partnerships signed in fiscal years 2018-2021 by garrisons, reserve centers and armories.

“All parents need help at some point in their journey,” said Catania Jones DHS Children, Youth and Family Services director. “We are proud of our ongoing collaboration with Fort Carson. The effort to strengthen families is something that DHS cannot accomplish on our own – it takes dynamic partnerships.”

The Center on Fathering is a community-based program offering classes, support group meetings and other materials to strengthen families. Families can get involved with the Center regardless of their situation or circumstance.

The center celebrates its 27th anniversary this month. The Center receives the majority of its funding from money allocated to the El Paso County Department of Human Services. The remainder comes from private foundations, state and federal grants, or individuals.

While the national award was informally announced months ago, the Army Partnerships Awards Ceremony was postponed from earlier this year.