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Father’s Groups Help Advance Pennsylvania Bill Supporting Greater Father Involvement

Dads’ Resource Center is partnering with others to help remove barriers fathers face

 

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania – (April 2022) – Many people are not familiar with how the court, county, and human services systems unnecessarily hinder father family involvement. On behalf of the children who lose out on their chance to have their fathers involved in their lives, organizations such as the Dads’ Resource Center are shedding light on the impediments placed on dads struggling to be in the lives of their children. Due to their dedication and hard work, Pennsylvania is on the path to establishing a committee that will bolster father-family involvement by identifying and addressing these types of barriers that exist in the state. 

 

“It is rare in this day and age to see this kind of bipartisan agreement,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “Mothers and fathers give different, but equally important things to their children. This is a good step toward fully appreciating and activating the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children.”

 

Pennsylvania HB 1731 would establish the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee on Greater Father Involvement. The purpose of the committee is to identify and make recommendations to remove barriers to sustained, purposeful, and positive involvement in their children's lives that fathers face. The bill was sponsored by Representative Lori Mizgorski and was brought to her through a partnership of organizations, including the Dads' Resource Center.

 

Passed unanimously, the bill now be brought up for a vote by the entire House of Representatives on April 26, 2022. There is currently no fatherhood-specific statutorily-created advisory committee like HB 1731, which would be established in the Joint State Government Commission within 60 days of being signed by the governor. Its responsibilities would include:

  • Working with governments and other entities to recognize and promote the contributions fathers make to improving societal outcomes for children and families.
  • Evaluating government programs that impact fatherhood and making recommendations for successful implementation.
  • Developing a comprehensive plan to support early connections between fathers and their children and continuing throughout the child’s life.
  • Promoting and supporting workforce development, partnering and conflict resolution programs for fathers. 
  • Promoting changes to statutes, regulations, rules and policies that impede greater father involvement measures. 
  • Identifying additional sources of funding to support the work of the committee and fatherhood programs.   

“I am overwhelmed, and I am excited,” said Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch, Strong Families Commission Chair and the driving force behind the effort to pass the bill. “Finally, we are beginning to get our state to recognize the importance that fathers can make to the well-being of our children.”

Other states are considering similar or different measures to help support fathers, including HB 803 in Texas, which focuses on equal parenting time. Florida recently passed legislation to support fatherhood in the state. The bill is tied to $70 million in funding used for educational programs, mentorship programs, and one-on-one support. 

 

“It is clearer than ever that every child deserves to have both parents fully involved in their upbringing to have the best chance of being happy and successful in life," said Dads’ Resource Center Founder and Chair Dr. Joel N. Myers. “Sadly, due to the biases and mindsets of judges, lawyers, guardian ad litems, county and state agencies, far too many children find their access to their fathers pervasively and unnecessarily inhibited, or flat out denied.”

 

Those who would like to help fathers have the opportunity fulfill their sacred responsibility to their children can take action in several ways. They can support organizations such as Dads' Resource Center. They can write their local newspapers, post on social media, and contact their government representatives. Working with local, state, and national officials can help lead to changes within the system that will allow fathers to be more involved with their children.

 

According to the U.S. Census, the percentage of children living with two parents has dropped since 1968. In 1968, 85% of children lived in a two-parent home, while in 2020, 70% did. They report that children living with a mother only is the second most common U.S. living arrangement, a number that has doubled since 1968. The percentage of children living with their fathers only quadrupled since 1968, going from 1% to 4.5%. 

 

Dads' Resource Center was started by Dr. Myers, a father of eight and the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. The mission is to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home. At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents. 

 

About Dads’ Resource Center

The Dads' Resource Center provides education, resources, and advocacy for dads who are separated or divorced and who are determined to uphold their sacred responsibility as fathers. The Dads' Resource Center was founded by Dr. Joel N. Myers, the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. His own experience as a single father led him to start the group. To get more information, visit the site at: https://dadsrc.org.

 

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Sources:

U.S. Census Bureau. Percentage and number of children living with two parents has dropped since 1968. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/04/number-of-children-living-only-with-their-mothers-has-doubled-in-past-50-years.html

 

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