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March 10, 2022
“Touchpoints provides fathers a way into the hearts of our children that interfaces with our babies with intentionality.” — Hassan Daniel
For Hassan Daniel, Brazelton Touchpoints speaks directly to him, opening up the world of fatherhood by facilitating the unique connections that fathers can have with their children, from the very beginning of life. Hassan sees Touchpoints as an equalizer, bringing fathers into focus in a way that fully engages them and invites their strengths, wisdom, courage, and relationship into the child development process. “It doesn’t leave mom out, but it equally includes dads,” says Hassan, a father of two boys, aged 9 and 12, and a devoted husband of 16 years.
As it is for all mothers and fathers, parenting for Hassan is a journey and one that comes with no clear roadmap or instruction manual. Hassan’s experiences have led him to his life’s mission of optimizing affirmative parenting outcomes for fathers and helping them navigate through everyday life despite personal dilemmas.
Like many journeys, Hassan’s path was not entirely linear and involved many steppingstones along the way. Engaging families and working to strengthen communities is part of the fabric of his being, grounded in his faith in God and a desire for justice. As a teenager, Hassan became an ordained minister and by his mid-20s, he was an assistant pastor of a church, providing fellowship and support to families with adversities and struggles. Those formative experiences helped prepare him for his work at the Baby College, a hallmark of the Harlem Children’s Zone’s early childhood initiatives that educates and supports new and expectant parents and other caregivers through the ins and outs of early childhood development.
When he began at the Baby College in 2006, Hassan was a single man without children. Yet he coached expectant parents in the early development of their children and the power of their engagement in their children’s long-term health and success. Brazelton Touchpoints facilitated his work with expectant parents, with the Touchpoints Parent Assumptions an important guide — that “all parents are experts on their children, have strengths, want to do well by their child, have something critical to share at each developmental stage, have ambivalent feelings, and that parenting is a process built on trial and error.”
Later, as Director of the Baby College, Hassan led the integration of key aspects of Touchpoints and its Guiding Principles into the parent program’s multi-week curriculum. The Baby College has now graduated 7,000 parents and caregivers, supporting their knowledge, confidence, and skills since its launch in 2000.
Harnessing the transformative power of storytelling, Hassan authored Where is the Man of the House?, a book arising from his personal experience with fatherhood and his desire for restorative justice for people’s lives — people, he came to realize, who were just like him. Hassan is sought after as a speaker and frequent lecturer for his knowledge and experience, and this coming May will be a featured speaker at the Washington Interagency Fatherhood Council’s upcoming Fatherhood Summit.
Today, Hassan is the Founder and CEO of The Father Factory, a coaching service that addresses the intergenerational impact of childhood trauma, specifically sexual violence experienced by boys. The Father Factory integrates intentional parenting, biblical literacy, and counseling for fathers with a history of childhood sexual trauma to support their healing. Through a 12-week course, called “The Father Factory Curriculum for Dad’s Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse,” Hassan provides fathers with a safe place to experience community and restoration. Hassan also reaches fathers through his podcast, “The Father Factory Voice Lessons,” which has featured leading thinkers and practitioners in the field, including the Brazelton Touchpoints Center’s very own Joshua Sparrow, MD. Hassan’s ability to adopt and adapt the key tenets of Brazelton Touchpoints is both art and science, and he applies these in The Father Factory’s work — his way to finally share his story, and “give fathers back to their families and communities.”
Hassan’s work with BTC has continued and grown in recent years from the seeds cultivated along the way. In 2020, Hassan was featured in an episode of BTC’s Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change series, and recently he joined the BTC National Facilitator Team, which trains providers across the country and the world in the Brazelton Touchpoints approach to family engagement. It’s also personal — in his house, he says, the “Touchpoints books are next to the Bible.” Both serve, he says, as unifying elements of Hassan’s parenting partnership with his wife, bringing them together to raise their children and support and guide their family even as their boys get older. For Hassan, Touchpoints is a way of life that encourages us to be present, to observe and listen to our children, and to work together toward common goals for our families.