Thursday, June 17, 2004


As Fathers Day approaches the striking absence of fathers in American society becomes all the more apparent. Carey Roberts looks at the absent father trend and it's not very pretty:
Architects of the Great Society program went ahead and implemented eligibility requirements that cut off welfare benefits if the father resided with the mother – the so-called "man-in-the-house" rule. Now, low-income fathers found themselves pitted against government largesse to compete for the loyalty of poor mothers. A tragic mismatch, indeed.

As a result, the number of children who lived in fatherless homes mushroomed from 5.1 million in 1960 to 16.5 million in 1995. These policies were so devastating in their impact that involved, caring fathers all but disappeared from low-income, Black neighborhoods.

But do kids miss their dads?
[W]hen fathers are disenfranchised by misguided government programs, here’s the result:

Their children have a higher rate of asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
Teenagers are at greater risk of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use, and suicide.
Adolescent girls are 3 times more likely to engage in sexual relations by the time they turn 15, and 5 times more likely to become a teen mother.
Amazing, isn’t it?

Dads, it seems, are a good idea after all.

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