You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Country legend Vince Gill, Time Jumpers to perform in Springfield

Fatherhood initiative raising awareness

Eli Williams will devote more time to Clark County group.

Forty percent of Springfield fathers are considered absent, according to the American Community Survey.

The Fatherhood Initiative and Fatherhood Clark County is trying to change that statistic. The group wants to find ways to prevent fathers from leaving their children and to support and guide fathers that are around.

Fatherhood Clark County Director Eli Williams started talks with County Commissioner John Detrick in 2009 about what he saw as a countywide issue of father absence. Williams’ organization, Urban Light Ministries, had already been doing work with fathers in the area since 2006, but he felt like more needed to be done.

“We felt that to make more progress, we needed more people,” Williams said. “We needed a coordinated effort to tackle this issue because it is so large and so pervasive within our community.

These talks resulted in Detrick and the county commission agreeing to create the Clark County Fatherhood Commission.

The commission is made up of several leaders from around the community, including Williams and Detrick. Others included Executive Director at Clark County Family and Children First Council Marilyn Demma, Springfield City Schools Superintendent David Estrop, Director of Clark County Jobs and Family Services Bob Suver, Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Monin and Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland, who later joined later in the process.

The commission meets every quarter to set the direction for the initiative.

After the creation of the commission came the creation of the Healthy Fathering Task Force, which brings together leaders from different sectors of the community including Business, Civic, Community Activism, Education, Faith, Government, Health, Law Enforcement, Media & Entertainment, Philanthropic, and Social Services.

“The Healthy Fathering Task Force will help drive the ongoing work of this initiative,” said Williams.

According to Demma, Fatherhood Clark County has been absorbed into the Family and Children First Council because of their similar goals within the community.

There are two main activities within the initiative: the action plan to promote responsible fatherhood and the annual celebration, which was last weekend’s Fatherhood Fest.

The main goals for the initiative right now are to find community leaders to fill the Healthy Fathering Task Force sectors and to continue work on the action plan within the community while in the process raising awareness about fatherlessness in the community.

There are also half a dozen standalone resource kiosks around the city with information about the initiative and Fatherhood Clark County.

The initiative is doing so much work that Williams will have to take a step back from Urban Light Ministries and, effective July 1, will have the majority of his efforts focused toward the Fatherhood Initiative.

Williams likened the fatherlessness epidemic to poverty in that the work is ongoing and the cause of the problem needs to be looked at and not just the issue itself.

“It is just as much about changing the community as it is about changing the men in the community,” said Demma.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

WATCH: 58-year-old toaster still kickin' after all this time
WATCH: 58-year-old toaster still kickin' after all this time

They don't make 'em like they used to. A video making the rounds on social media doesn't feature cute cats or the other usual suspects; instead, the star is a decades-old kitchen appliance.
Country legend Vince Gill, Time Jumpers to perform in Springfield
Country legend Vince Gill, Time Jumpers to perform in Springfield

The Clark State Performing Arts Center will continue to swing through its 2016-2017 season with an additional concert. The performing arts center announced Wednesday that the multiple Grammy Award-nominated western swing and traditional country music band The Time Jumpers will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30. Tickets will go on sale Feb. 17. The...
Rain arrives this evening, mild temperatures linger
Rain arrives this evening, mild temperatures linger

Cool morning with some mist and cloudy skies Rain becoming more widespread and heavy at times tonight Weekend more than 20 degrees warmer than normal Today: It will be a quiet and cool morning with some mist and drizzle possible, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. It will be cloudy with not much sunshine expected through the day. Most...
Get 'free cruise' robocalls? You could score $500 per call in class-action settlement
Get 'free cruise' robocalls? You could score $500 per call in class-action settlement

Did you fend off robocalls promising a "free cruise" back in 2011? You could end up pocketing $500 per call.
Who won big at the 2017 People's Choice Awards? See the winners list
Who won big at the 2017 People's Choice Awards? See the winners list

Check out the full list of winners below: Favorite movie: "Finding Dory" Favorite movie actor: Ryan Reynolds Favorite movie actress: Jennifer Lawrence Favorite action movie: "Deadpool" Favorite action movie actor: Robert Downey Jr. Favorite action movie actress: Margot Robbie Favorite animated movie...
More Stories