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Prevent Child Abuse launches jail program

COVINGTON - Prevent Child Abuse Newton is branching out, taking its message about fostering healthy parent-child relationships to incarcerated fathers.

The organization recently started a Nurturing Fathers Program at the Newton County Detention Center.

The program is an extension of the Nurturing Parenting Program that the group puts on for parents of elementary school-aged children.

The program, started with the cooperation of Sheriff Joe Nichols, focuses on "teaching relationships with children - the role of the father, discipline techniques, the importance of visibility, being involved in the children's life," said Prevent Child Abuse Director Sheena Berry.

There are 17 men enrolled in the class, Berry said, pointing out that's as many as the classroom will hold.

The men will meet every Thursday night for 13 weeks and their progress will be assessed when the program ends in December, she said.

"I thought it would be very beneficial because we have a high percentage of men in the detention center that are in there just for that reason, that may not understand being supportive in the lives of their children and learning how important they are in the lives of their children," Berry said.

Similar programs are already in place in surrounding communities, she said, adding that, "It's been really successful in Monroe as well as Rockdale."

A women's detention center program is already in the works, Berry said.

Prevent Chid Abuse Newton is also currently enrolling parents in their Nurturing Parents Program and a program for teenage moms and dads, beginning on Jan. 24.

For more information, call 678-342-4004.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.