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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supports programs and policies that reflect the critical role that both fathers and mothers play in building strong and successful families and in the well-being of children. Some programs reach out directly to fathers to promote responsible fatherhood and strengthen parenting skills. Other programs work to discourage young people from becoming parents until they are married and ready for the responsibility. HHS also partners with states and with faith-based and community organizations to promote healthy relationships and responsible fatherhood in local communities. Find more information about HHS initiatives promoting fatherhood at fatherhood.hhs.gov.
Children need two involved parents. Over the last four decades, the number of children growing up in homes without fathers has dramatically increased. In 1960, fewer than 10 million children did not live with their fathers. Today, the number is nearly 25 million. More than one-third of these children will not see their fathers at all during the course of a year. Studies show that children who grow up without responsible fathers are significantly more likely to experience poverty, perform poorly in school, engage in criminal activity, and abuse drugs and alcohol. From the point of view of ensuring financial support, research suggests that there is a positive correlation between noncustodial fathers’ involvement with their children and their payment of child support.