US CONGRESS - 2003 - S.657- Strengthening Families Act of 2003


Congress makes the following findings:

  1. Nearly 24,000,000 children in the United States, or 34 percent of all such children, live apart from their biological father.
  2. Sixty percent of couples who divorce have at least 1 child.
  3. The number of children living with only a mother increased from just over 5,000,000 in 1960, to 17,000,000 in 1999, and between 1981 and 1991 the percentage of children living with only 1 parent increased from 19 percent to 25 percent.
  4. Forty percent of children who live in households without a father have not seen their father in at least 1 year and 50 percent of such children have never visited their father's home.
  5. The most important factor in a child's upbringing is whether the child is brought up in a loving, healthy, supportive environment.
  6. Children who live without contact with their biological father are, in comparison to children who have such contact:
    1. 5 times more likely to live in poverty;
    2. moe likely to bring weapons and drugs into the classroom;
    3. twice as likely to commit crime;
    4. twice as likely to drop out of school;
    5. more likely to commit suicide;
    6. more than twice as likely to abuse alcohol or drugs; and
    7. more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
  7. Violent criminals are overwhelmingly males who grew up without fathers.
  8. Responsible fatherhood includes active participation in financial support and child care, as well as the formation and maintenance of a positive, healthy, and nonviolent relationship between father and child and a cooperative relationship between parents.
  9. States should be encouraged to implement programs that provide support for responsible fatherhood, promote marriage, and increase the incidence of marriage, and should not be restricted from implementing such programs.
  10. Fatherhood programs should promote and provide support services for:
    1. loving and healthy relationships between parents and children; and
    2. cooperative parenting.
  11. There is a social need to reconnect children and fathers.
  12. The promotion of responsible fatherhood and encouragement of married 2-parent families should not:
    1. denigrate the standing or parenting efforts of single mothers or other caregivers;
    2. lessen the protection of children from abusive parents; or
    3. compromise the safety or health of the custodial parent;
  13. but should increase the chance that children will have two caring parents to help them grow up healthy and secure.
  14. The promotion of responsible fatherhood must always recognize and promote the values of nonviolence.
  15. For the future of the United States and the future of our children, Congress, States, and local communities should assist parents to become more actively involved in their children's lives.
  16. Child support is an important means by which a parent can take financial responsibility for a child and emotional support is an important means by which a parent can take social responsibility for a child.
  17. Despite declining national and State rates, in the United States 4 out of 10 girls get pregnant at least once by age 20, nearly 1,000,000 girls each year. There are nearly 500,000 teen births each year.

Orlando Sentinel

Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals

By Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel, USA, on July 18, 1999

Now is the time for all good fathers to come to the aid of the family.

But you'd better hurry; your days are numbered. In fact, if you happen to be a heterosexual male (further doomed by Caucasian pigmentation), your days are already over, according to a cover article in the June issue of American Psychologist, published by the American Psychological Association.

In their article, "Deconstructing the Essential Father," researchers Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach challenge one of the core institutions of our culture -- fatherhood. Read More .. less, fathers, as we've known and loved them, are obsolete.

The article makes numerous breathtaking assertions, but basically the researchers state that fathers aren't essential to the well-being of children Read More ...

REPORT: Children Need Dads Too: Children with fathers in prison

Quakers United Nations Office
July 2009

Children are heavily impacted by parental imprisonment and greater attention should be given to their rights, needs and welfare in criminal justice policy and practice. Due to a variety of reasons such as mothers often being the primary or sole carer of children, complicated care arrangements, the likelihood of women prisoners being greater distances from home and a host of factors explored in detail in other QUNO publications, maternal imprisonment can be more damaging for children than paternal imprisonment. However, it is important not to underestimate the damage that paternal imprisonment can have on children.

Children with incarcerated fathers experience many of the same problems as those with incarcerated mothers, including coping with loss, environmental disruption, poverty, stigmatisation, health problems and all of the difficulties involved in visiting a parent in prison. It appears that there are also some difficulties specifically associated with paternal imprisonment, such as a higher risk of juvenile delinquency and strained relationships between the mother and child.

The numbers of children separated from their fathers due to imprisonment is far higher than those separated from their mothers due to the vast majority of prisoners being men (globally over 90 per cent of prisoners are male. To ignore this group would, therefore, be to neglect the vast majority of children affected by parental imprisonment.    Read More ..

USA_Today logo

Hammering it home: Daughters need dads

USA TODAY, June 10, 2003

It's widely recognized that boys benefit from having dads around as role models and teachers about manhood.

But does having a father at home make much difference for girls?

But even in affluent families, girls become sexually active and pregnant earlier if they don't live with fathers, according to the largest and longest-term study on the problem. It was released in May.

Compared with daughters from two-parent homes, a girl is about five times more likely to have had sex by age 16 if her dad left before she was 6 and twice as likely if she stops living with her dad at 6 or older.

The study of 762 girls for 13 years took into account many factors that could lead to early sex, says Duke University psychologist Kenneth Dodge, the study's co-author. Still, there was an independent link between teenage sex and girls not living with their biological fathers.

Divorced Dads:
Shattering the Myths

Dr. Sandford L. Braver and Diane O'Connell

picture book Divorced dads: Shattering the Myths

This is the result of the largest federally funded 8 year study of the issues confronting parents and their children in the United States.

Shattering the Myths. The surprising truth about fathers, children and divorce.

Sydney Morning Herald

Children seeing more of their fathers after divorce

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 3, 2005

Divorced fathers are Read More ..volved in their children's lives than conventional wisdom would have it, a new study shows.

It shows surprisingly varied and flexible care patterns among separated families, with "every other Saturday" contact giving way to Read More ..ild-focused arrangements.

Australian Institute of Family Studies research fellow Bruce Smyth has produced the first detailed snapshot of parent-child contact after divorce anywhere in the world. Published today in the institute's journal Family Matters, the analysis has implications for children's emotional and financial wellbeing.

Other research indicates children of separated families do best when they have multifaceted relationships, including sleepovers, sharing meals and doing schoolwork, with both parents.


Fathers 'have key role with children' after families split

The Telegraph, London, U.K.

Researchers say they found a direct relationship between children's behavioural problems and the amount of contact they had with their natural father.

The effect was more pronounced in single-parent families, particularly where the mother was a teenager. In such cases, children were especially vulnerable emotionally if they had no contact with their father.