DRC Joins The Strong Families Commission in Calling for Statewide Action to Increase Father Involvement Through Service and Policy Inclusion

Dads’ Resource Center is joining The Strong Families Commission, Incorporated (THE COMMISSION) and the Symposium Organizing Committee (SOC) to address the unintended and adverse consequences of father absence or non-involvement in the lives of Pennsylvania’s children and families.

On March 27th, Dr, Joel Myers, DRC founder and chairman, and Jeff Steiner, DRC executive director, attended a press conference with THE COMMISSION, community and legislative leaders to introduce the report From Practitioners to Policy Makers: A Statewide Call to Action for Greater Father Involvement in the Lives of Pennsylvania’s Children and Families at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building.

The culmination of a three-year effort spearheaded by THE COMMISSION, the report incorporates input from an inter-disciplinary group of national, state, and local practitioners and scholars concerned with improving outcomes for children and families through the provision of father-inclusive services and policies. The group, convened as the Symposium Organizing Committee (SOC), developed recommendations for all three branches of Pennsylvania’s government based on the urgent need to remove systemic barriers that impede fathers’ greater involvement in the lives of children and families.

Out of the 2.6 million children residing in Pennsylvania, over 886,000 are living in single-parent households (mother-headed: 690,230; father-headed: 196,410.) While many single-parent children can and often do become exceptional adults, far too many other children are denied the critical financial, emotional, and social support by not having access to one of their parents, typically fathers.

The report cites this situation as exacerbated when public service systems established to help those in need fail to include fathers as an important factor in child and family well-being programs and policies, and that child well-being outcomes can be greatly improved by increasing and supporting father involvement in the lives of their children through a “systems integration approach”.

Major report recommendations include: the introduction of proposed legislation to establish the Commonwealth’s policy to promote greater father involvement in the lives of children and families; creation of the Pennsylvania Commission on Greater Father Family Involvement to implement said policy; establishing the Commission in the Office of the Governor; defining its functions, powers, duties, and membership; and making an appropriation.

The overarching goal of SOC is to encourage each branch of Pennsylvania’s state government to adopt and institutionalize a father-friendly posture toward men within families that ensures the inclusion of funding for father-supportive outreach policies, services and practices. This inclusion will enable fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children; assume greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and financial responsibility for them; and positively influence their well-being outcomes.

It was also announced that Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of AccuWeather, and founder and chairman of Dads’ Resource Center, has accepted the appointment as advocate and champion of the 2019 launch of the statewide campaign for greater father involvement in the lives of Pennsylvania’s children and families.

Read the From Practitioners to Policymakers: A Statewide Call to Action for Greater Father Involvement in the Lives of Pennsylvania’s Children and Families report here.