“In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence-both in my life and in the lives of others. I
came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can
fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough
to fully make up the difference. That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that
what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.”- President Barack Obama (June 19, 2009)
Why should policymakers care about responsible fatherhood?
- The federal government spends $100 billion every year to support father-absent homes. In June 2008, National Fatherhood Initiative released The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man, a ground-breaking study that showed that the federal government spends $100 billion each year supporting father-absent homes. And that’s a conservative estimate – the study did not measure impact for related costs such as the criminal justice system, which is overwhelmed by men who grew up in father-absent homes.
- The most challenging social problems of our time are connected to father absence. If you want to address poverty, child abuse, crime/recidivism, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, or education, then restoring fatherhood is an integral part of the solution. Father absence is not a single issue, and its social and economic consequences are felt across society.
- Father absence has a direct impact on the well-being of millions of children. 24 million children, 1 out of 3, grow up in homes in which their biological fathers do not live. In the African-American community, the rate is 2 out of 3. These children are significantly more likely to live in poverty, drop out of school, engage in risky behaviors…all issues the government grapples with every day.