Thursday, June 17, 2010

White House on 'Fatherhood'

Since his days in the Illinois State Senate, President Obama has done an annual speech on the fatherhood, rooted in his own experience growing up without a father and now raising 2 Strong, Smart, and Bold young girls himself.

When he got to the White House, President Obama wanted to delve deeper into this issue and convened a task force entitled Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families to hold regional round tables on the topic of fatherhood.

In this work, President Obama has been intentional about involving women’s groups. He is aware of the heavy load borne by single mothers--often thanklessly--due to absent fathers. He is also aware that some mothers are single by choice due to domestic violence or other concerns about the father.

Many women were turned off by fatherhood programs under prior administrations, due to their unproven, religiously-based, or coercive nature.

President Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families agenda will focus on 3 key areas:

1. Policy- In his 2011 budget, the President has proposed a $500 million Fatherhood, Marriage, and Families Innovation Fund to be competitively granted to states to support the custodial parent, both mothers and fathers

2. Call to Action- The Administration will focus on fatherhood and mentoring, recognizing that girls need fathers too and citing some research on the long term effects on girls with absent fathers.

3. Form Strategic Partnerships- These partnerships will be with organizations outside of the traditional fatherhood realm. Again, the President and his Administration really want women’s/girls’ groups to be partners in their effort.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions they would like to make the White House aware of on this subject, please send contact to We will pass along the information to April Osajima, Girls Inc. Public Policy Director, who will be present at the 'Fatherhood' event in Washington, DC.

Watch for news coverage of the Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families task force meeting on Monday, June 21st

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