Congressmembers Find Children Do Better with Dads and Moms in Their Lives
(From Vol 14, #3, Winter 1999/2000, Speak Out for Children, newsletter of the Children’s Rights Council, 300 “I” Street N.E., Suite 401, Washington, D.C. 20002-4389, phone (202) 547-6227)
In the introduction to The Responsible Fatherhood bill (S. 1364) introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Peter Dominici (D-NM) and Sen. Evan Bayh (R-IN), it states:
nearly 25 million children in the U.S., or 36 percent of all such children, live apart from their biological father;
60 percent of couples who divorce have at least 1 child;
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;
40 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;
children who live without contact with their biological father, are in comparison to children who have such contact:
5 times more likely to live in poverty
more likely to bring weapons and drugs into the classroom;
twice as likely to commit crime;
twice as likely to drop out of school;
twice as likely to be abused;
more likely to commit suicide’
more than twice as likely to abuse alcohol or drugs; and
more likely to become pregnant as teenagers;
violent criminals are overwhelmingly males who grew up without fathers and the best predictor of crime in a community is the percentage of absent father households;
compared with Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Italy, the U.S. has the highest percentage of single parent households with dependent children;
70 percent of U.S. citizens believe that the most significant family or social problem facing the U.S. is the physical absence of the father from the home, resulting in a lack of involvement of fathers in the rearing and development of children;
States should be encouraged, not restricted, from implementing programs that provide for support for responsible fatherhood, promote marriage, and increase the incidence of marriage;
there is a social need to reconnect children and fathers;
the promotion of responsible fatherhood and encouragement of two-parent efforts should not
denigrate the standing or parenting efforts of single mothers; or
lessen the protection of children from abusive parents; but should increase the chance that children will have two caring parents to help them grow up healthy and secure;
for the future of the U.S. and the future of our children, Congress, States, and local communities should assist parents to become more actively involved in their children’s lives; and
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.
This bill is the Senate counterpart to the “Father Count” bill passed by the House in 1999.
Girls More Likely to Get Pregnant Without Dads in Their Lives
More than a quarter of American children, nearly 17 million, do not live with their father. Girls without a father in their life are two and a half times more likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide. Boys without a father in their life are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent as likely to abuse drugs. Both girls and boys are twice more likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
(from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), press release, March 26, 1999)
MOTHERS WITHOUT CUSTODY:
There are now 2 million mothers without custody of their children.