Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is There a Father Absence Crisis?

With the release of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse's new series of ads, bloggers and news sites have been buzzing about the need for these ads and the fact that there is a father absence crisis in America. "Do we really need to 'sell' fatherhood?" is the question of the hour.

Several individuals have cast doubt on a statistic from our Pop's Culture and Mama Says surveys, which state that 9 out of 10 fathers and mothers believe there is a father absence crisis in America today.

But that is the wrong statistic on which to focus.

The real issue is not what we see in our circles of influence or what we believe about whether or not there is a problem. The real issue is that 1 out of 3 children - 24 million - are growing up without their biological father in the home.

When millions of fathers aren't involved in their children's lives, that's a crisis. Especially when you consider that children from father-absent homes are more likely to face depression or commit suicide, drop out of school, experience a teen pregnancy, and experiment with risky behaviors.

There is a place for these ads. Even for the many dads who are involved and present, these ads are a reminder that your kids need you and you have an irreplaceable role in their lives.

For more information about the facts of father absence, visit or


  1. I first noticed that there was a fatherhood issue about 2 years ago. I took my oldest daughter (about to turn 3 next month) out for a picnic on the National Mall. It was a sunny Saturday in May - a perfect escape from the routine of occasional solo-baby-sitting. What surprised me was the number and proportion of people that were surprised to see a dad out with his daughter... alone. Was it that she was so young? Was it that I was black (and we know the stats)? Or was it broader? Were all of my contemporaries (thirty-something married men with 1.5 kids, playing golf or watching baseball)? Why was everyone surprised? It was at that moment that I realized it's not "normal" to be a dad. I'm reminded of the Chris Rock skit, "you're supposed to do those things, don't take credit for it!".

  2. I think it's SAD! However, obviously not sad enough since the 'system' is only concerned with collecting support payments from many of the fathers, rather than entering visitation judgements. It's a fact that some of these men just are not MATURE enough to accept the responsibility of fatherhood. However, we cannot ignore the fact that in TOO MANY cases, the mother is interfering in the relationship with the father. I place some of the blame on the state, because they have yet to realize that financial support is just as important as visitation. How about the states enter visitation judgements along with those child support orders? Instead, fathers who are already strapped for cash have to decide between mortgage/rent or paying an attorney to spend time with their child.


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