PAGFFIC Statement of Rationale

The Pennsylvania Greater Father Family Involvement Campaign

David A Wyher and Drs. Joel N. Myers, W. Wilson Goode, Sr. and Rufus Sylvester Lynch

Invite you to Join Us in Launching
The 2020 Greater Father Family Involvement Campaign
by helping us to contact every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to educate them
about the purpose of the Symposium Organizing Committee (SOC)
and the need for a Pennsylvania Commission to promote greater father family involvement.

 

VISION: Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders

MISSION: To advocate for their well-being in the context of Family

 

Around the world in healthy families, mothers and fathers offer different, and equally important, support and guidance to their sons and daughters. Children who don’t have the benefit of both parents being actively involved in their upbringing all too often have difficult childhoods and struggle to succeed in life. In Pennsylvania, many Legislative, Judicial and Executive governmental policies and practices hinder the appropriate involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. The Pennsylvania Greater Father Family Involvement Campaign seeks to change that.

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 over 50% living in mother-only households and nearly 10% living in father-only households. According to data collected by the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, an estimated 315,270 or 46% of children in single, female-headed households are living below the 100% poverty level.

Nationwide, approximately 24 million or 35% of the nation’s children are being raised in single parent households often without access to their fathers and/or their emotional and financial support. Research shows that father involvement is associated with better outcomes for child well-being. Just like mothers, fathers have a lot to offer. They are role models, caretakers, providers, and advocates. When children have the benefit of access to both mother and father, they are more likely to exhibit healthy behaviors, excel in school, and achieve emotional well-being.

In the absence of Pennsylvania policies that promote greater father family involvement and sustainability in the life of their children, too many children will likely grow-up not having had full parental support to achieve economic stability and wealth acquisition, and thus are unlikely to be able to maintain themselves adequately as adults; nor to be able to enhance their own independent family’s well-being, as well as that of their communities and the Commonwealth itself. Over the last six years, The Strong Families Commission, Incorporated (THE COMMISSION) has examined this issue and have concluded that perhaps the biggest barrier to father involvement is simply the failure of Pennsylvania’s social service systems to prioritize positive fatherhood as a valuable ingredient for healthy development of children and families.

For this reason the Pennsylvania Greater Father Family Involvement Campaign (PAGFFIC) has called to action Pennsylvania’s Stakeholders of Child Well-being, in the philanthropic public & private community, as well as members of the business and corporate community, to address the educational needs of state governmental officials. Thereby, creating a broader opportunity to encourage system assessment and the willingness to remove systemic barriers that are impediments to greater father family involvement, thus, the well-being of children.

The overarching goals of PAGFFIC is 1) to bring the light, in an effort to raise the consciousness of Pennsylvanians that fathers are also needed, and of value, when it comes to raising children, and supporting families; 2) to educate and urge each branch of Pennsylvania’s state government to adopt and institutionalize a father inclusive posture, toward men within families; and to support the active participation of fathers in Commonwealth child and family programming; and, 3) to convince the Pennsylvania General Assembly to establish in statue a Pennsylvania Commission that promotes greater father family involvement in the lives of children and families, and the removal of state systemic impediments that work against such behavior.

The PAGFFIC ultimate success depends on our state government and its leaders. In that regard, beyond its Call to Action of Stakeholders of Child Well-Being, PAGFFIC must receive the endorsement of state government leaders, beginning with the Governor issuing an Executive Order that directs all state departments and agencies to acknowledge the value of fathers, and to be inclusive of fathers in the development and administration of children and family programs. We look to the Pennsylvania General Assembly to consider adopting a Resolution agreeing that prospective legislation regarding children and families will recognize, foster and promote the value of fathers’ contribution to the well-being of their children. Finally, we request that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court promulgate rules and procedures for the unified judicial system to ensure that fathers’ rights receive equal consideration and review in determining the best interests of the child and family.

Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch, ACSW
NASW Social Work Pioneer ®
May 18, 2020