In Pennsylvania, nearly 900,000 or 34% of the state’s children are currently residing in single-parent homes. In Philadelphia alone, 60% of the city’s children live in single-parent households, with the vast majority living in mother-only household. However, research has shown that a child’s well-being benefits from the presence of an involved father – they are much less likely to drop out of high school, take up smoking, drinking and using drugs, or to suffer economic deprivation, physical, emotional neglect, or incarceration.
Just like mothers, fathers have a lot to offer. They are role models, caretakers, providers, and advocates. When a child has the benefit of access to both mother and father, she is more likely to exhibit healthy behaviors, excel in school, and achieve emotional well-being. Unfortunately, systemic barriers exist throughout government and society which often prevent fathers from full participation in their child’s life. These include stigma linked to seeking behavioral health services and the lack of prioritization among behavioral health entities and staff; child support orders which often overlook circumstances and obstacles to fathers’ engagement with families; housing, supervised independent living, and homelessness systems which do not prioritize fathers with children; and failure to prioritize father involvement as an equal co-parent in education and support services.
This legislation will create an advisory commission under the Department of Human Services to research best practices, recommend policy, and promote greater involvement by fathers across the Commonwealth. The aim is to remove barriers to child rearing by fathers while ensuring the well-being of all families in Pennsylvania.
Contact the office of Senator Anthony H Williams for further information on the bill and information on the upcoming call at firstname.lastname@example.org