Restore, Inc. is hosting its 2nd Annual Fatherhood Walk on Saturday June 16, 10:00am to 2:00pm at Central Catholic High School in Toledo. The theme of the walk is "Where are the Fathers?" Go to www.restorefathers.org or call 419.377.1488 to register.
The documentary film, The Black Fatherhood Project, by Jordan Thierry, will be shown in a community screening on the Ohio University campus on Saturday April 21. A workshop and discussion will follow the screening...
The National Children's Study (NCS), http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov, is a 20 year study of 100,000 children that will launch next year. Case Western Reserve University in Cuyahoga County, Ohio is a local study center for NCS and they are currently involved in a pilot study. Please check out the Winter 2012 Community Newsletter for more information, http://www.neofathering.net/national_childrens_study.asp.
Students at Cedarville University partnered with the Clark County Fatherhood Initiative to develop a marketing plan to help reach fathers in Clark County - read more about this innovative partnership between a fatherhood program and a local university.
The Talbert House Fatherhood Project was featured in the December 2011 Cincinnati Bar Association Report - read the article
e-newsletter: REAL Dads, a Model Fatherhood Program, Closes in Cincinnati - read the story...
Comments from members: "Thanks for the detailed article on the situation with the Cincinnati Real Dads program. It is disheartening to hear of the dismantling of fiscal supports for programs to support parents – especially fathers. Yes, economic times are bad, but we need to rally to build our “human capital” for our future strength. Fathers are such an important component of children’s development and strengths. I believe our political leaders are very short sighted and ignore the long-term impact of their huge hits to human services." Diane Karther, Ashland County
Slate magazine did an excellent article investigating the potential link between testosterone levels in men when they become fathers, and nurturing behavior with their children - http://www.slate.com/id/2303809/
The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is encouraging local Public Housing Authorities to allow people leaving jail or prison to return to live with their families "when appropriate". This is great news for reentry practitioners and ex-offenders.
e-newsletter: Sentencing Reform Passes Ohio General Assembly. Kasich to sign this week! -
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has released a special edition of their monthly Child Support Review in honor of Father's Day - check it out
E-Newsletter: Greene and Stark Counties held fatherhood leadership summits last week - supported by the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood's County Initiative - read about the summits here
E-Newsletter: RESTORE, a fatherhood agency in Toledo is sponsoring their first annual Fatherhood Walk in honor of Father's Day this year - click here to read more....
Financial Literacy Programs for Low-Income Noncustodial Fathers - The State Office of Child Support is rolling out an exciting new program to help parents who pay child support with financial stability. Check out our Child Support Policy page for more information.
Inspirational Video of a father and his special needs son
Here is the link to a genuinely moving three-minute clip of a father's heartwarming relationship with his disabled son, Wesley, from an award-winning documentary “The Story of Fathers & Sons.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S9ur0x-z7U The poem below is recited by the father in the video and written by him.
by Hogan Hilling
Instead of walking with you,
I will crawl with you.
Instead of talking with you,
I will find ways to communicate with you.
Instead of isolating you,
I will create adventures for you.
Instead of focusing on what you cannot do,
I will reward you with love for what you can do.
Instead of feeling sorry for you,
I will respect you.
Army dad surprises son at Akron Fathers Walk
Staff Sgt. Darrell Stamps has spent nine years in the U.S. Army and fought the war on terror in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
But for his son D.J. in Akron, Stamps' most meaningful deployment came Wednesday morning when he made a surprise visit from his base in Washington state to walk the 5-year-old to school
Stamps chose Wednesday because it was the annual Fathers Walk. In cities across the country, one million fathers walked their children to school to emphasize the importance of dads in their kids' lives. "I wanna be somebody they can look up to and say, 'my dad was there every chance he got the opportunity to,'" Darrell Stamps said.
Stamps grew up on the west side of Akron and joined the Army shortly after graduation from Buchtel High School. He walked his son to kindergarten Wednesday at Portage Path Elementary, the same school he attended as a young boy. Stamps has another son, Davon, age 4.
Child-support orders don't always follow child, Monday, September 27, 2010 02:53 AM
BY RITA PRICE, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Dale Lovett was in child-support limbo.
The next paycheck will be a whole paycheck for Dale Lovett.
It will still be modest, he said, but with enough left over to delight a 5-year-old. "He loves to go bowling," Lovett said. "I'll finally be able to do something special with my son."
Child-support payments of about $50 a week have been automatically deducted from Lovett's Kmart wages for the past year even though his son has been living with him. The boy's mother even signed a notarized document saying that's true.
Lovett talked to the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the courts. He even wrote the governor.
"It's not like I was trying to get child support from her," said Lovett, 26, of Ross County. "I just wanted to stop paying for no reason. Both places continued to send me to the other. I was a Ping-Pong ball."
Local child-support officials, who fixed the problem after a Dispatch inquiry, say growing numbers of never-married parents, fast-changing living arrangements and a cumbersome custody process that requires judicial action make it difficult to help caregivers who want support orders to match their living situation.
People who hire attorneys can cut through the process more easily, but few do, said Susan Brown, director of the Franklin County agency.
"It's a serious issue for us," said Kim Newsom Bridges, head of the Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency Directors' Association.
"Where do we send the money? Just as often, the child might go to a grandma or an aunt, and they don't have legal custody either," Bridges said. "We want support to follow the child, but the law isn't flexible."
Custodial rights automatically start with the mother when a child is born out of wedlock, as about 40 percent of Ohio children are. Child-support agencies can order support for her once paternity is established. But to terminate support or send it elsewhere usually requires a custody ruling in court.
Lovett didn't have legal custody, which is why the court couldn't alter the child-support order. And without custody papers, the child-support agency couldn't obtain payments for him or be certain of the living arrangement, so caseworkers referred him to court to get custody. But because he didn't ask for support and the child's mother agreed to give up the money she had been getting, the administrative order finally was terminated last week.
"It's a tedious process," said Glenn Harris of the Columbus Urban League. He often works with fathers who say they need help because the kids have moved in with them.
Harris explains that the laws were designed with married couples in mind, even though about 60 percent of local child-support cases now are between parties who never married.
"When you're not married, as a father, you have no legal rights except to pay the support," Harris said. Anything else must be sought in court.
Bridges said the association has been working on legislation that would give child-support agencies more authority to change support orders, but courts are understandably leery. They worry about losing oversight of custody, which is supposed to be based on the best environment for the child.
Lovett said he's sure he offers the love and devotion that his son needs. With the extra money, he'll struggle less financially. But he doesn't advocate fatherhood outside marriage.
He and the mother, who lives in Columbus, did not have much of a relationship. He found out he was the father of her sixth child when a letter came from the child-support agency.
"But it is the best mistake I ever made," Lovett said. "I am the proud father of a smart and wonderful boy."
The National Healthy Start Association released an issue brief on July 20th called IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO: Defining the Role of Fathers
DANNY K. DAVIS (IL-07) Presents: COMMISSION ON PATERNAL INVOLVEMENT IN PREGNANCY
TO ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS AT CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING
Representative Danny K. Davis and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute—the nation's leading research and public policy institution and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color—released and discussed of new policy, research and practice recommendations in a report from the Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes on Thursday May 20th. Click here to download the press release.
Assembled in 2009, the Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes (CPIPO) is an interdisciplinary working group of scholars from the social sciences and public health community whose goal is to raise public awareness of the need for paternal involvement in pregnancy and family health. CPIPO’s recommendations are intended to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes by offering best and promising practices to address policy barriers and increase the involvement of men and expectant fathers in maternal and child health research and clinical practice.
Few Young Men Counseled on Sexual Health, Study Finds
By RONI CARYN RABIN, Published in the New York Times, April 16, 2010
Despite repeated recommendations to provide reproductive health services to teenage boys and girls, few adolescent males are getting the information they need to protect themselves from H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases, a new study reports.
Fewer than one-quarter of boys ages 15 to 19 were counseled about sexually transmitted diseases or H.I.V. by a health care provider in the previous year, according to a national survey of 1,121 young men done in 2002, representing no significant change since 1995, when a similar proportion received such counseling, the study found.
Young men who had three or more female partners or engaged in oral or anal sex with male partners were more likely to have received counseling. But a similar proportion of those engaging in risky sexual activities got counseling in 1995, the study found.
Fewer than one-fifth discussed contraception with a health care provider, the 2002 study reported. Almost two-thirds of sexually active young women have received such services, reports indicate.
“The medical system is really set up to serve women and maternal-child health in ways that aren’t addressing young men’s needs,” said Dr. Arik Marcell, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University medical school and lead author of the paper, in The Journal of Adolescent Health.
The National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has released the results of their 'Mama Says" survey of over 1500 mothers ages 18 and over. The survey asked a series of questions about attitudes regarding fatherhood and the parenting performance of fathers. Click here to see the NFI report or read about the findings in the January 2010 OPNFF Newsletter. The Brookings Institute hosted a program to discuss the findings of the survey in December 2009. Tracy Robinson, Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood participated on the panel.
The New York Times ran this opinion piece and story on fatherhood on November 3rd, 2009
Paying More Attention to Fathers
By Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times
When it comes to raising children, most of the focus is on mothers. But a growing body of research shows that fathers play an essential, if often undervalued, role in a child’s development, as Laurie Tarkan explores in today’s Science Times. She writes:
Uninvolved fathers have long been accused of lacking motivation. But research shows that many societal obstacles conspire against them. Even as more fathers are changing diapers, dropping the children off at school and coaching soccer, they are often pushed aside in ways large and small.
“The walls in family resource centers are pink, there are women’s magazines in the waiting room, the mother’s name is on the files, and the home visitor asks for the mother if the father answers the door,” said Philip A. Cowan, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who along with his wife, Carolyn Pape Cowan, has conducted decades of research on families. “It’s like fathers are not there.”
To learn more about the importance of fathers, read the full story, “Fathers Gain Respect From Experts (and Mothers)
REAL Dads program in Cincinnati - a fatherhood promising practice
Here is a great article about the REAL Dads program in Cincinnati - this a wonderful model of cooperation between a fatherhood program and a county child support agency. The article was originally published in the Cincinnati Enquirer - http://tinyurl.com/yb3b8r7
Three Ohio Counties have received federal child support demonstration grants to help parents overcome barriers to payment of their child support orders. Franklin County will work with formerly incarcerated parents, Cuyahoga County will work with parents in default on their orders and Stark County will work with recently unemployed non-custodial parents.
read more about the projects...
Ohio author offers advice on fatherhood
By April Bohnert, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in The Lantern: Tuesday, September 29, 2009
With the release of her self-published memoir, “A Father’s Love,” Lavita Stokes has started a new chapter in her life. Stokes aims to change American family values by promoting a campaign for fatherhood and parental responsibility.
Through her book and donations to Columbus organizations, Stokes said she hopes to reach both those coping with the struggle of not having a father and the struggle of becoming a good one. “It’s time to put the father back in the family,” she said.
Her book shares the pain and confusion she experienced as a young girl growing up in a fatherless home, along with poetry from men and women about their experiences with fatherhood. The book also doubles as a self-help book for men facing parenthood head on.
Stokes is donating part of the proceeds from her book to the Father 2 Father program, which helps men between 16 and 35 years of age prepare for the responsibility of being a father. The men go through a series of parenting classes and workshops that teach them how to be an active and valuable part of their child’s life. In the upcoming months, Stokes will be part of a panel of speakers that will address Father 2 Father participants. Giving a uniquely female perspective on the subject, Stokes hopes to help men understand the effects an absent parent can have on a child. “I want to teach, inspire and most of all uplift.” Stokes said.
Philanthropy is nothing new to her. Stokes has been teaching, inspiring and uplifting people for over a decade. For ten years Stokes volunteered for Franklin County Children’s Services’ Friendship Program where she mentored children with difficult home lives. One girl Stokes worked with has become like family to her, she says. She met her when she was 10 years old and is still in contact with her 16 years later. In 2002 she was awarded the Most Inspirational Volunteer of the Year award, but her true work can be seen in the lasting relationships she has created.
“We all have success built inside us,” she said, “We just need to find the resources.” Stokes plans to continue donating to and working with organizations like Father 2 Father, the African American Male Initiative and the Columbus Urban League. She also expressed a desire to aid battered women’s shelters, women who have suffered abuse and women in prisons, to provide more resources for downtrodden females.
Stokes will have a book signing on Oct. 24 at The Book Suite in Columbus from 3 to 5 p.m.
US Education Secretary Arne Duncan encourages fathers to get more involved in their children's education
by HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press Writer - 5:51 PM EDT, September 23, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Getting fathers involved in their children's education will take turning off the TV at home and opening the school doors to them, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday. "Both sides have to move toward the middle, toward each other," he said in an interview after a forum attended by dozens of nonprofit groups, churches, and government officials around New England . "What's fascinating to me is that both sides need each other so badly. Educators desperately need parents to be more involved, particularly fathers, and fathers desperately need to be involved in their children's education," he said. "There's just this tremendous untapped potential and power here."
The event was the organized by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was part of the "National Conversation on Fatherhood" initiative President Barack Obama announced in June. Duncan said fathers must move outside their comfort zones and get involved with their children, perhaps in ways they didn't interact with their own fathers.
"When fathers step up, students don't drop out. ... When fathers step up, young folks have greater dreams for themselves," he said.
"We need to turn those TVs off at night, we need to engage with our children, we need to read to them." Duncan, who often says American children should spend more time in class if they are to compete with students abroad, said lengthening the school day, week and year also would allow nonprofit groups to get more involved in schools. "You guys should be in our schools," he told a woman who runs a program that offers classes on healthy romantic relationships in Boston . "Schools should be open 12 to 13 hours day with a wide variety of programming."
Thomas Brennan, superintendent of Manchester schools, agreed. He also said administrators, teachers and other staff have not been taught to value fathers and their role in education, and that he himself has not considered that some fathers may not feel welcome in schools. "We haven't done a good job, not because we don't want to do, but I think it's out of ignorance, which is kind of sad when we're talking about the education system," he said.
When one audience member suggested that schools be required to send notices and report cards to noncustodial fathers, even those in prison, Duncan said he agreed. But he rejected the man's suggestion that schools appoint one person to reach out to dads.
"We as educators haven't done a good job with this two-way street idea," he said. Instead of having one person take on the responsibility, it should be "everybody saying I want this child to fulfill his tremendous academic potential and the only way I'm going to do that is to incorporate the family," he said.
A federal report shows that teen drug and alcohol use is higher when a residential father uses alcohol regularly and even higher when adad has a drinking disorder, http://tinyurl.com/ncn4po
Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the 2009 version of the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act on June 19th, 2009. Read about it on our Federal Fatherhood Policy page
Vicki Turetsky named Commissioner of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcemen
From: OS News, HHS (HHS/OS)
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 3:07 PM
Subject: Important Staff Announcement
To: ACF Staff
From: Laura Petrou, HHS Chief of Staff
I am pleased to announce that Secretary Sebelius has appointed Vicki Turetsky, currently the Director of Family Policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), to be Commissioner of the Office of Child Support Enforcement in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Turetsky brings 25 years of experience as a public administrator and advocate for low-income families. She is a nationally recognized expert in child support policy and has been instrumental in efforts to establish realistic child support programs that encourage fathers to work and play an active parenting role. I am confident she will be an outstanding Commissioner.
Please join me in welcoming her to HHS.
Vicki Turetsky's bio:
Vicki Turetsky is the Director of Family Policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Before joining CLASP, Ms. Turetsky was in charge of policy development and management related to AmeriCorps grants during the start-up phase of the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service. She held an appointment as a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and has received awards from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and National Child Support Enforcement Association, as well as a "Spirit of Fatherhood" award sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. As a division director of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, she received the state's first "reinventing government" award for overhauling cross-agency processes and introducing technology to improve operations, rulemaking, legislation, and grants and contract management. While a teenage mother, Ms. Turetsky attended college at the University of Minnesota. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She was the first ever single parent with children admitted to the University of Chicago Law School, receiving her J.D. in 1982.
Governor Ted Strickland declares June 2009 Fathers' Month in Ohio. Read the proclamation and press release ...
Precious Children – Responsible Fathers by Eric Smith, MVPF Director, Urban Light Ministries, Inc.
It’s like my pastor says, knowing the component ingredients of a Schuler’s donut is not the same thing as a personal experience eating the richness of a Schuler’s donut.
My wife and I were recently blessed with the arrival of our first child. And when a friend asked what my impressions were after the birth, my reply was that I always knew the definition of the word, “precious,” but that this special and game-changing event in my life provided me a personal experience of just how rich and precious a life could be. When I look at our daughter I now know how it feels, as a parent, to want the absolute best for your child.
I want my daughter to live up to her educational and intellectual potential. I want her to grow up healthy and strong. I want her to have true and supporting relationships to encourage her during the hard times and celebrate with her during the happy times. These are just some of the many emotions and dreams that well up in my heart when feeding her at 3:00 a.m., when waking up to her cooing in the morning, and when reading her a bedtime story to help encourage language development.
Being a part of the Miami Valley Fatherhood Initiative has given me the opportunity to read the statistics and research on the importance of the father role in a child’s growth. I know that, “children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children [with] uninvolved fathers (Confronting Father Absence, Don Eberly, National Fatherhood Initiative).”
This knowledge comes with a price. I can no longer avoid the reality that I am intimately responsible, not just for providing for my daughter financially, but for also nurturing and encouraging her so that she grows to achieve her very best. My actions today will impact her life on into the future. If, for example, I want to increase the chances of my daughter marrying an upstanding young man that loves her in healthy and positive ways, then I must be that exact kind of husband to my own wonderful wife.
The mantel of “father” carries with it a heavy responsibility. However, now that I have personally tasted what a precious blessing that children are, it is a responsibility I gladly accept.
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Benefits of Father’s Presence Reaffirmed in New Report on Poverty
By Eli Williams, Urban Light Ministries / Miami Valley Partnership for Fathers
Thank God for mothers. But kids need dads, too. Children with committed, involved fathers are less likely to be poor, do better in school, and are healthier. Consider these findings from a recently released Child Trends Research Brief:
The number of U.S. children living in poverty increased in 2007—continuing an upward trend dating back to 2000: In 2007, 13.3 million children were living in poverty, up from 11.6 million children in 2000. The percentage of children living in families with incomes below the poverty line has increased from 16.2 percent in 2000 to 18.0 percent in 2007. Thus, a large number of children—nearly one in five—are poor. Child poverty merits attention because a substantial body of research links poverty with lower levels of child well-being. For a variety of reasons, when compared with children from more affluent families, poor children are more likely to have low academic achievement, to drop out of school, and to have health, behavioral, and emotional problems. These linkages are particularly strong for children whose families experience deep poverty, who are poor during early childhood, and who are trapped in poverty for a long time. - CHILDREN IN POVERTY: TRENDS, CONSEQUENCES, AND POLICY OPTIONS – April 2009, By Kristin Anderson Moore, Ph.D., Zakia Redd, M.P.P.,1 Mary Burkhauser, M.A., Kassim Mbwana, M.P.P, and Ashleigh Collins, M.A.
Further, the report (which is an analysis of U.S. Census data) reveals “In 2007, children living in households headed by single mothers were more than five times as likely as children living in households headed by married parents to be living in poverty—42.9 percent compared with 8.5 percent.”
The bottom line for fathers is this: If you want your children to thrive, be there for them and provide financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Even if you can’t be there physically, you are important to the well-being of your kids.
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Child Suport Modifications for the Unemployed
Here is some information which will be helpful to fatherhood practitioners and others who are working with individuals experiencing economic hardship in these difficult times…
Child Support Modifications (also known as the Administrative Review and Adjustment Process) can routinely be requested by either parent every 36 months. Ohio law also allows reviews (before the 36 month timeframe) in some circumstances:
- If either party has been unemployed for 30 consecutive days (at no fault of their own);
- If either party becomes permanently disabled, reducing their earning capacity;
- If either party experiences a 30% change in income (beyond their control) for a period of six months;
Click here to download a fact sheet from the State Office of Child Support detailing this information is attached, along with a 2 page newsletter from the Ohio Child Support Director’s Association. An article on the Administrative Review and Adjustment Process is at the bottom of page 2 of the newsletter (page 3 of the pdf file).
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Who’s Octo-Dad? And does it matter?
By Reverend Eli Williams
Miami Valley Partnership for Fathers / Urban Light Ministries
Nadya Denise Suleman, known as Octo-Mom in the media, is closer to realizing her dream of having all fourteen of her children at home. The California woman had each of the children via invitro fertilization with help from a male friend. Suleman is unemployed and on food stamps. The now famous single mother of octuplets and six older children still refuses to identify the father of all fourteen children. I won’t use this column to further vilify Nadya, but rather to heighten awareness of the importance of the father’s supportive involvement in the raising of children. I have yet to see a news article or commentary asking “Who’s Octo-Dad?” Don’t fathers matter in today’s culture?
According to Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. in a 1997 article titled How Men and Children Affect Each Others Development, “Children who’s fathers are not in their daily lives start looking for their father as soon it becomes clear to them that kids have moms and dads.” This father hunger can be insatiable. Moms can’t be dads. Children need both. Seven in ten adults believe a child needs a home with both a mother and a father to grow up happy. The bottom line? Daddies matter. Yet, sixty-three percent of black children, thirty-five percent of Hispanic children and twenty-eight percent of white children are living in homes absent their biological father. Annually, billions of dollars in government and charitable dollars are being spent dealing with the consequences of this father absence crisis. Frankly, it isn’t working.
This is a call to men (fathers, step fathers, father-figures, etc), to step up in greater numbers to our responsibility to be involved and supportive when it comes to the rearing of children. It is also a call to society, media included, to acknowledge the important, God-given role of fathers.
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BRITISH CHILDREN’S MINISTER: CALL ON SERVICES TO BETTER SUPPORT DADS 13 November 2008
Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes today announced a ‘Think Fathers’ campaign to dispel the myth that dads are the ‘invisible parent’. Research the Government is publishing today shows that public, health and family services across the board need to go much further in recognising and working with fathers. read more...
Honoring Black Fathers in History
By Eli Williams, President
Miami Valley Partnership for Fathers
Urban Light Ministries, Inc.
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Americans have celebrated Black History in February each year since 1926. Unfortunate, there is still more research that needs to be done to uncover the whole truth about African-American fathers in history. Diana Ross, who has written a book on this subject, made the following comments in a BlackFatherhood.com article.
Despite the images of enslaved Black men, depicted in history books as lazy, cowardice beings, they were loving, nurturing and protective fathers. There are several periodicals and resources written by enslaved men and women as well as a collection of voice recorded interviews with former slaves who serve as witnesses to the true make up of the enslaved family and their communities. More importantly they document the positive images set forth by Black fathers during that era. They were said to take great pride in their ability to care for their families and would sacrifice their lives for their children with the same compassion and love as enslaved women. Many would purchase their wives and children with money or in exchange for extra labor in order to keep their family members out of slave auctions. - Legacy of Black Fatherhood by Diana Ross/copyright 2008 BlackFatherhood.com
My father, Ulysses G. Williams, while not perfect, was a fine role model for men of all colors and cultures. He worked extremely hard to provide for his thirteen children. A husband of one wife, church deacon and common laborer, dad destroyed the curse of irresponsible parenting in our family. I am thankful for his legacy. This Black History Month and throughout the year, let us recognize and honor good fathers – those from history and those living today.
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Excerpts from a speech President Barack H Obama delivered last Father's Day, June 15th, 2008:
Speaking of the responsibilities of fatherhood, Obama remarked:
“…The first is setting an example of excellence for our children…
“The second thing we need to do as fathers is pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes.”
And then, turning to the role of government in providing fathers support in fulfilling their responsibilities, now President Obama continued…
“And by the way – it’s a responsibility that also extends to Washington. Because if fathers are doing their part; if they’re taking our responsibilities seriously to be there for their children, and set high expectations for them, and instill in them a sense of excellence and empathy, then our government should meet them halfway.
We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices and harder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.
We should take all of these steps to build a strong foundation for our children. But we should also know that even if we do; even if we meet our obligations as fathers and parents; even if Washington does its part too, we will still face difficult challenges in our lives. There will still be days of struggle and heartache. The rains will still come and the winds will still blow.
And that is why the final lesson we must learn as fathers is also the greatest gift we can pass on to our children – and that is the gift of hope.”