President Obama spoke in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance of responsible fatherhood and mentoring to build healthy families and communities. At the event, the President announced the next steps in his longstanding agenda on fatherhood and personal responsibility: The President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. The Initiative will continue the President’s effort to impact father absence in America through partnerships with fatherhood and family-serving groups and role models around the country.
The Initiative is a national call to action to address fatherlessness in America and includes the following steps:
• The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Office of Public Engagement will continue to host community forums on fatherhood and personal responsibility around the country, in concert with local groups. The next forum is scheduled for New Mexico on August 10.
• Organizations supporting the Initiative will reach out to communities and individuals around the country. Individuals who sign up for the Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative will receive e-newsletters featuring articles, tips and resources from prominent leaders in the fatherhood and family fields and information about model programs.
• Organizations supporting the Initiative will work in specific ways to have a cultural impact on responsible fatherhood, from local forums with the National Parent Teachers Association to community trainings by the National Fatherhood Leaders Group (NFLG). Partners from the National PTA to the head of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities have signed up to advance the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative in communities around the country.
In addition, as the President has said, while no government program can remedy the problem of father absence in America, government must do its part to help fathers facing challenges. President Obama has proposed a new Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund that will scale up effective fatherhood and family-strengthening programs across the country. And recognizing that the best leg up for any family is a good job, the President has also provided funding through the Department of Labor for transitional jobs programs for noncustodial parents facing barriers to employment.
Last year, the President launched a national conversation on fatherhood and personal responsibility, and members of his Administration reached out across the country to hear from fathers and their families about the challenges they face. Over the last year, Administration officials held events across the country including a discussion with Secretary Duncan in New Hampshire about the link between fatherhood and educational achievement; Secretary Locke talked to fathers in California about balancing the needs of their families with the demands of their jobs; Secretary Shinseki held a town hall for military and veteran dads in North Carolina; and Attorney General Holder traveled to Georgia for a forum about fathers in our criminal justice system.