DCF Highlights Responsible Fatherhood Month with Roundtable 

TAMPA, Fla. – Today, Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Shevaun Harris hosted a roundtable in Tampa regarding the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative as part of Responsible Fatherhood Month. Secretary Harris was joined by Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Secretary Eric Hall, Director of All Pro Dads Jason Hood, Pastor Lyn Masslieno with Northwest Florida Health Network, Lesley Bateman of Family First, Nikki Daniels from Layla’s House, and Allan Alford with All Pro Dads.

The Department is working diligently to strengthen Florida families by promoting responsible fatherhood. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is equipping fathers with the resources to become and stay engaged in their children’s lives by providing programs that educate, mentor, and provide one-on-one support to fathers statewide.

“In Florida, we recognize the impactful role that a father has on a child’s overall well-being. Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is supporting strong families by encouraging involved fatherhood across our state,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Through this initiative, the Department is laser-focused on harnessing local resources and partnerships that provide additional assistance and mentorship opportunities for at-risk males and fathers which will have a positive impact on Florida’s future generations.”

“DJJ is proud to work with our agency and community partners to support the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative because we know that involved fathers contribute greatly to building strong, resilient, and successful young adults,” said DJJ Secretary Eric Hall. “When fathers are actively engaged in their children’s lives it positively influences future generations and fosters healthier families and stronger communities.”

“We are extremely excited to serve the fathers and families of Northwest Florida! We welcome the challenge to engage fathers that are justice involved, that have experience in the child welfare behavioral health system. We look forward to impacting lives and families,” said Lyn Masslieno, Recovery Specialist, Northwest Florida Health Network.

“We are proud to be a part of the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative in Florida. Through our experience with All Pro Dad, we’ve seen steady progress by supporting Florida fathers to build healthy relationships with their children,” said Lesley Bateman, Director of Partner Services at Family First. “This initiative demonstrates a statewide commitment to supporting Florida fathers, impacting generations to come.” 

“Fatherhood isn’t easy,” says Jason Hood, Director of All Pro Dad Chapters, Family First. “We’ve seen how having additional resources, encouragement, and a community of support can help bridge these challenges. The commitment of the state on this initiative will have a lifelong impact. We are proud to be a part of this.”
“We know that children who have both parents in their lives do better in school, in the workforce, and in having their own healthy relationships,” says Associate Director for Champions of Children Nikki Daniels. “We invite fathers to be part of all we do at Champions for Children and value their involvement.”