Program helps fathers stay involved with kids: Letter

Re: “Dreams of his father; Missing a dad doesn’t amount to dissing a mom, ” Opinions, Feb. 22. Jarvis DeBerry’s column makes a salient point. Despite having an exceptionally strong and determined mother as well as a good deal of luck, President Barack Obama still believes an active and present father would have further supported development of his manhood.

As research by the National Fatherhood Initiative shows, a father living inside the home is one of the most critical factors involved in keeping young men in school and out of trouble with the law.

Compared to children living with both parents, a child growing up in a single-parent household experiences twice the risk of physical, emotional and educational neglect. There are significant odds of incarceration for youths raised in father-absent households.

The breakdown of the traditional family is widespread. Nationally, a third of all children grow up without a father in the home. In African-American homes, two-thirds are without a live-in dad. In New Orleans, the statistics are far worse than the national average.

As DeBerry points out, if the leader of the free world feels he was dealt a bum hand growing up without a father, imagine how ordinary boys might feel.

Family Service recently initiated a new program, NOLA Dads, based on NFI’s curriculum to work with 55 young fathers, helping them stay involved with their children to put an end to the cycle of underachievement, unemployment, poverty and violence.

Ron McClain
CEO/President, Family Service of Greater New Orleans

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