Community organizations have two opportunities to receive funding for programs that encourage responsible fatherhood. The first is through a $500 million Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund that President Obama proposed for fiscal year 2011. The second is by encouraging your congressional member to co-sponsor the Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act.
To position your organization for the $500 million fund, contact the agency that provides services to fathers and families in your state. Find out if they intend to apply for this grant if the funds become available. Let them know that your organization wants to help them develop and ultimately implement comprehensive, innovative fatherhood initiatives. These three-year competitive grants are meant to encourage responsible fatherhood, support healthy marriages and lead to economic self-sufficiency for families. Involvement from your organization will go a long way in improving outcomes for low-income fathers and most importantly, for their children.
If enacted, funding would also be available to community organizations through the Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act. The Act would provide grants to organizations that conduct job training, financial literacy, and domestic violence prevention programs. Low-income fathers need these services and you can receive additional support to provide them. Call your congressperson and ask them to support the bill.
Low-income fathers often assume that if they are unable to financially contribute to their families then they might as well not be there. Additionally, a significant portion of these men do not know how to be good dads because they grew up without a father themselves. They need help in understanding that their involvement is crucial to the wellbeing of their children. We must encourage responsible fatherhood in order to achieve immediate and long-term benefits for families and for society overall.
According to the U.S. Census, about 24 million children were growing up without their fathers in 2009. That translates to one in three children. For black children, two out of three are growing up without their fathers. Children from fatherless households are more at risk of low academic performance, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and criminal activity. Whether or not a child’s parents are actually married, having an engaged father significantly reduces these risk factors.