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$1 Million in Federal Funding for Retreat Program

October 21, 2015
In The News

A program aimed at fathers and administered by the Retreat, a domestic violence agency in East Hampton, has received a huge financial boost from the federal government, to the tune of $1 million a year for five years. 

Representative Lee Zeldin announced that the Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative will receive $999,999 in funding as part of a federal grant. The Hauppauge-based program provides assistance to low-income and at-risk fathers to help prevent family and domestic violence. The program, funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Family Assistance, is meant to provide fathers with financial and emotional support.  

More than 800 fathers and their families in Suffolk County have been helped through the Fatherhood Initiative since it began in 2012, according to Maggie Goldfarb, the director of development at the Retreat. Between 200 and 250 fathers have participated each year, including in a series of skill-building group and individual activities. The enhanced program will involve participation from fathers as young as 15 and the addition of a new mentoring component and work force development support, Ms. Goldfarb said. Last year, the program cost $831,175. 

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue this important work with fathers in Suffolk County," Karen Lombri, the director of the Fatherhood Initiative, said in a statement. The funding will help fathers be better able to care for their children and ensure "violence-free, healthy, and mutually supportive relationships," she said. 

The program was established under a three-year grant that expired on Sept. 30. 

"Providing those in need with the tools necessary to better themselves and their families is an important initiative that is indicative of the character of our Long Island community, and I am confident that the Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative will continue their great work for Long Island," Mr. Zeldin said in the statement.