Real Fathers Initiative - Helping Fathers in Northwest Indiana

REAL FATHERS INITIATIVE focuses on assisting fathers with being a part of their children’s lives. The program helps fathers to engage with their children through counseling on an educational, vocational, and family planning level.

Fathers are taught skills in the area of parenting. The program teaches fathers how to be an effective parent. A lot of times fathers don’t know how to complete small tasks such as meal preparation, assisting with school work, preparing clothing for school, etc. With the assistance of REAL FATHERS INITIATIVE, fathers will learn these basic tasks as they are taught to them, as well as engage in role playing in an effort for fathers to gain a better understanding of what it takes to parent. The program provides fathers with a family advocate that can assist them in finding suitable housing information and assistance. Fathers are taught how to apply for housing with townships services and local housing authorities. Mentors will provide the father with a positive example of how to become a great father.


To increase involvement by fathers and their families in the lives of their children; by providing prevention and substance abuse treatment programs for non-custodial fathers in the child welfare and juvenile justice system.


To engage fathers, 

To engage paternal family members to become involved in the lives of their children, 

To address paternity issues, DNA testing and costs for DNA testing

To get involved with assistance in the child support division

Wraparound services to strengthen support for fathers



Home-Based Services


Case Management 


Referral for services



Assistance with Employment

Visitation with Children


Parent Support Group

Co-Parenting Education


Family Involvement


Parenting Education


Employment Training


Mentoring-Volunteer Program


Development of Mentors to Act as Role Models for Fathers 


Establishing Paternity

If you are a parent of a child born out of wedlock, there are two ways to establish legal paternity of your child.

1. You may either sign a paternity affidavit, or

2. You may file a court action for paternity.

A paternity affidavit is used when both parents agree that the alleged father is the biological father of the child. Both parents must sign the paternity affidavit. A paternity affidavit can be signed at the hospital where the child was born, within 72 hours after the child’s birth.

A paternity affidavit can also be signed at your local health department at any time before the child reaches the age of majority and is emancipated.

In Lake County, Indiana, parents of children born in Gary, Indiana or East Chicago, Indiana must go to the health departments in their respective cities:

In Gary, Indiana the health department is located at 1145 West 5th Avenue. The phone number is 219.882.5565.

In East Chicago, Indiana the health department is located at 1200 West Chicago Avenue. The phone number is 219.391.8467.

Parents of children born in any other town or city in Lake County, Indiana, must go to the Lake County Health Department which is located at 2293 North Main Street, Crown Point, Indiana. Phone: 219.755.3655.

The signing of a paternity affidavit is evidence of paternity that the man is the child’s father, unless the man asks a court for genetic testing within 60 days after the signing of the paternity affidavit. If genetic testing is not requested within 60 days after the signing of the affidavit, then requests would be decided on a case-by-case basis through the courts. Upon signing of the affidavit, the child’s birth certificate shows that the man is the child’s father. It entitles a father to all rights and responsibilities as a parent.

The signing of the paternity affidavit establishes legal paternity, however, sole custody is automatically given to the mother and both parents have an obligation to support the child. Any other custody arrangements must be established with a court order. Any parenting time, visitation arrangement, and the amount of child support to be paid are established by a court order. Once a case is brought into court, the parents are also required to log onto and complete the work at the following website: If an agreement is not reached, the court will decide these issues after litigation.


For More Information Contact the Real Father's Initiative call: 219.757.1831



Serving Northwest and Northern Indiana, Geminus supports programs in Benton, Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. Our network of partners includes community-based health care and social services, welcoming Indiana residents of all ages and income levels with fully integrated, streamlined services.

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