By Mark S. Disbrow
Special to The SUN
Having children without family formation first, family breakups and unskilled parenting are causing significant expenditures by the federal, state and local governments funded by taxpayers.
Incarceration, probation, child support collections, police calls, uninsured hospital visits, food stamps, TANF, Colorado Works and more are regularly provided to broken families and uncommitted fathers. The annual direct national public costs of father absence for the year 2006 was $99,798,000.
These levels of expenditures would not be necessary if permanent families were formed prior to childbirth and parents learned and employed positive parenting techniques early in the lives of their children.
Valuable family attributes cannot be mandated by the government. This is where the national Fatherhood Initiative comes into play. The program teaches positive fathering, healthy relationships, and skills for income stability. Enrollees who devote one year or more receiving fatherhood services and faithfully implement them in their lives will see a significant turn-around.
The following are the goals of the Fatherhood Initiative:
• Promote family formation first (before having children).
• Increase fathering interest, skills, ability, capability and enjoyment.
• Support healthy marriages which are violence-free, substance abuse-free, poverty-mentality free and permanent.
• Prevent family breakups and transition assistance during family breakups.
How does it benefit Archuleta County? You? Fatherhood is permanent, it shapes tomorrow’s fathers, and is learned from fathers. Let’s work together to promote responsible fatherhood and raise a new generation of excellent dads.
How can you help? Support good fathering. When you see it, compliment the dad. Tell him you respect him. When you see a struggling dad, mention the program. Pass out brochures. Talk it up at your church or civic group. Be a role model or ally. Help out at WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) in your child’s school.
Contact the local Fatherhood program at 264-5517 or www.StrongFathersPagosa.info.