UIH Family Partners (UIH), a nationally recognized organization, has been a pioneer in the emerging field of fatherhood programs for over two decades, while the organization itself dates to 1859 when the Union Industrial Home, an orphanage, opened. The organization has served Trenton’s families by adapting its programming to respond to the shifting needs of the community. Today, UIH strengthens families by focusing on fathers. The staff members work with men to develop their employment skills and help them secure and retain jobs. Many of these men have had some kind of involvement with the criminal justice system, and we know that approximately 10,000 now-incarcerated men will be released over the next decade to Mercer County. The organization offers a host of services, including employment certification training, anger management and mental health wellness classes, “Little Libraries” in barbershops, parenting education, and Dress2Impress where men can get free business-wear. UIH collaborates with a number of organizations in the Trenton area and is expanding its reach to Newark and Burlington, NJ.
UIH is getting certified as a trauma-informed organization in 2018. While UIH has a per diem LCSW, the staff is not clinically trained to provide mental health counseling. How can non-therapeutic staff members further support UIH’s clients, many of whom have been traumatized and sexually abused?
Additional research topics that would support UIH include evaluating or investigating: growth in parenting skills, how to enhance fathers’ relationships with mothers of their children (i.e. co-parenting), mental health in urban cities, employment trends in New Jersey and the region (especially technology-related), and intervention programs for young men at risk of engaging in gangs to equip them with life and professional skills to prepare for the workplace. Best practices reviews in the following areas would also be useful to UIH: getting men to get prostate screenings, apprenticeship programs available for men with criminal records, and how to best support men dealing with an opioid addiction.