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Father Involvement and the Future of Children and Families

Q: Why is father involvement a topic of social concern in America today?


Sean BrothersonA wide variety of scholarly studies, publications, and social programs in recent years have focused attention on the issue of fathering. Diverse disciplines ranging from early childhood education to juvenile justice to modern health care have sought to address the topic of male involvement in family life and its consequences. According to some scholars, the “most urgent social problem” in the United States today is the increasing number of fathers who either are not in the home or are ineffective parents while at home. As a result of such social concerns, efforts to encourage better fathering have been ongoing in the United States for over twenty years. 

Why is fathering an important issue on the nation’s agenda? Perhaps because, as a number of scholars have noted, increasingly more children do not reside with their fathers, have only limited interaction with their fathers, and receive little economic support from their fathers. One research study on the topic of family upheaval in America addressed this concern about father involvement and was titled: “A Generation at Risk.” Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that one of every three children in America, which amounts to 24 million children, lives in a home without the involved presence of a father or father figure. Because children depend on the adults in their lives for care and support, the question of how adults are responding to the needs of the rising generation is a critical issue for families and communities.

For further information on father involvement and strengthening families, access the remainder of this short research article for ND Compass by Dr. Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist at NDSU, by visiting:


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