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Fatherlessness

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Fatherlessness is a national epidemic affecting millions of children every year. Virtually every major social pathology has been linked to fatherless children: violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, unwed pregnancies, psychological disorders, and even suicide.

When children grow up without a father figure in the home, they are twice as likely to become; poor, to experience educational, health, emotional, and behavioral problems, to experience child abuse, and engage in criminal activity.

24 million children in America—one out of three—live without their biological father in the home. 40% of the children living in fatherless homes haven’t seen their father in over a year, and 26% of absent fathers live in different states than their children.

According to Dr. Torri J. Evans-Barton, Founder and CEO of the Fatherless Generation "Finding my biological father at 31 years old caused me to realize the significance fathers play in our lives.  I believe, if possible, all human beings should have the same opportunity I was provided. By being reunited with my biological father I was positioned to heal from the trauma fatherlessness introduced." 

When children are raised in two-parent households, children are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school, 70% less likely to drop out of school, and are more likely to get A’s and enjoy school and extracurricular activities.

In the publication “A Call to Commitment: Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Learning”, published by the U.S. Department of Education it states that “When fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact.

Fatherlessness is not segmented to only divorced or separated homes, but also families that have faced incarceration or death of the father figure in the home.

2.7 million children have at least one parent that is incarcerated.

1.5 million children are living in a single-parent household because of the death of one parent.

Society’s vision of the family is changing, but children still need to be the center of our focus. And yet, fathers who are wanting to be involved in their children’s lives, through shared parenting, face enormous barriers.

When divorces occur, 69% of the time women file first, and obtain custody overwhelmingly more than men.  Children are often seen as assets, rather than children.  Our laws should stop encouraging judges into making value judgments between two competent parents in order to label one “custodial” and the other “non-custodial” which goes against what’s“best for children”.  Old traditions, conflicts of interest, and financial incentives through child support collection and federal subsidies have created incentives that separate fathers from their children.

Statistics state that single parent households struggle significantly more than two-parent households.

In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married couple families.

Fifty-five (55.2) percent of WIC recipients are raised by single-mothers, 48.2% of all Head Start recipients are from father-absent homes, and 37% of public assistance and Section 8 housing are female-headed households.

Welfare has become a substitute for a father figure in many American homes, presenting another reason for women to raise their children in a fatherless home because of the support given to them from the government.

Tragically, attempts to deal with the “fatherhood crisis” have been ineffective because the root cause of fatherlessness is not predominantly child abandonment by fathers as widely quoted. Instead, it is our laws and policies that ignore access and parenting time denial,  give incentives to initiate marital separation and divorce, the courts allowing  a parent to move away in child custody cases, and welfare programs that often replace fathers.  All children benefit when both parents work together to take care of their child's emotional and financial needs,

We should encourage Shared Parenting legislation thatwill ensure that children have the emotional, physical, and financial support of both parents – avoiding the social pathologies children face coming from fatherless homes.  

 
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