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National Summit on Fatherhood

On October 27-28, the first National Summit on Fatherhood took place in Dallas. The summit was sponsored by the National Fatherhood Initiative, a new organization which emphasizes the irreplaceable role of fathers. The invitation-only event drew 300 civic, religious and cultural leaders from around the country. Following the opening address from Vice President Al Gore, 25 speakers and panel members, including Jeff Kemp, addressed the crowd on the subject of fathering and its effect on the family and society. Following are some of the interesting social trends and statistics that were discussed:

  • Father-absence is statistically correlated to every negative social trend.
  • In 1960, 17 percent of American children did not dwell with their fathers. Today that number is approaching 40 percent.
  • The emotion that is most often produced in male children, if they are raised without masculine influence, is anger.
  • The average age of youth appearing in court is decreasing from 15 to 13.
  • Teenage girls are beginning to appear more often as the perpetrators of violence.
  • Self acceptance and self esteem are the most essential characteristics transferred through fathering.
  • 60 percent of America’s rapists, 72 percent of teenagers charged with murder, and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates grew up without fathers.

William Galston, a White House policy advisor who addressed the group, cited his own research showing that when the effect of family structure is taken into account, the apparent difference in crime rates for blacks and whites vanishes.

(Don Wallis and The Philadelphia Inquirer), Community Impact Bulletin, December 6, 1994

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