“Just how many of us fathers, with children with special needs, are out there? I don’t know, but it is nice to meet them from time to time. It’s a great experience!

James, former Director of the Fathers Network

The Washington State Fathers Network is one of the finest support programs in the country. For over 35 years the WSFN has been a powerful voice for fathers and families raising children with developmental disabilities and lifelong health issues. It is eminently clear that support and knowledge are crucial when raising a child with special needs. Please join us.”


“My first Fathers’ Network meeting was 25 years ago and I remember it like yesterday. It was one of the most important moments of my life. Our baby son had recently been diagnosed with multiple handicaps, and I quickly learned that my wife and I were on our own. Even though we had plenty of well meaning friends and family, we were ultimately alone. Then my wife found the Fathers’ Network and convinced me to go to a meeting. Entering the room for the first time I felt an otherworldly sense of safety, acceptance and understanding. I was with a bunch of guys who got it. Each dad talked about their family, their struggles, their successes. Some talked a little, some talked a lot. All gave and got support. I left feeling so much better about my life. I no longer felt alone. The Fathers’ Network has made me a better father, husband and man.


“My two youngest boys were diagnosed with autism.  Sometimes it takes a persuasive wife to get you to go, but after I went to my first WSFN conference I was hooked.  Later I actually spoke at several conferences and shared our story.”


“The Network stands on the ideal that fathers are not irrelevant especially in the parenting of a special needs family member.  It recognizes that dads need support as well as moms, but that their support is different, e.g. the triggers of grief and tendency to anger is different.  And, it has value because it recognizes that fathers need other fathers to help them aspire to be better dads and better spouses.


“The Fathers Network opened an whole new world to me after my son had an accident that left him with significant disabilities. I was working in sawmills at the time and the guys at work tried their best to support me through a difficult time. They would ask questions like, “Can he walk yet?”.  “Is he talking?”.  All with the greatest intent. I would reply, “No, but he’s making small steps”.  They truly did not understand how to support me and it became increasingly uncomfortable to talk about it. When I found the Fathers Network, the other fathers understood those small steps were tremendous gains and we were able to share our love as fathers. I felt like I was home! I know others might have said this before, but the Fathers Network was a lifesaver at a very difficult time in my life. The support I received has expanded my life and that of my whole family!”

Greg, former Director of the Fathers Network

“Fathers Network is a highly unique resource for fathers having children with special needs. From its very beginning dads have found it focused on issues central to being a father and also providing very useful information about the special needs world. Research over the years has proven fathers network to be invaluable to the health and well-being of fathers and their families in Washington state and far beyond.”


“What can I say about the Fathers group. 34 years ago, then known as S.E.F.A.M. they saved my sanity. Having a child born with a disability and immediately thrust into Children’s Hospital because of serious medical needs. “Where do I go, who do I talk to?”  And, yes, I had many questions. I have made so many friends and learned so much in the last 34 years with this group I could write a book. The Fathers Network is a life saver as well as a great group of caring Dad’s.