Let us first look at some important statistics published by the National Fatherhood Initiative.
The Effects of Father Absence in the Home of Minor Children:
Children of Father-Absent homes are:
- Five times more likely to live in poverty.
- Three times more likely to fail in school.
- Two times more likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems.
- Two times more likely to abuse drugs.
- Two times more likely to be abused and neglected.
- Two times more likely to become involved in crime.
- Three times more likely to commit suicide.
Compare the facts with children having Father’s involved in their lives:
- Better cognitive (“knowing and perceiving”) outcomes.
- Higher self-esteem and less depression as teenagers.
- Higher grades, test scores, and overall academic achievement.
- Lower levels of drug and alcohol use.
- Higher levels of empathy and other pro-social behavior.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Newsom, an employee of the Montgomery County Child Support Enforcement Agency (“CSEA”). Historically, Michael (“Mike”) commenced employment with the CSEA in November of 2000 as a Supervisor at the Agency’s Call Center. He later became an Intake Unit Supervisor and in November of 2010, he became the Fatherhood Coordinator with the Agency. An alternate title for Mike is that he is the Social Program Coordinator for the CSEA.
What Activities or Tasks Does Mike Do or Perform as the Fatherhood Coordinator for the CSEA?
Community Outreach: Mike meets with interested persons and parties at high schools, Sinclair Community College, churches, and organizations such as Marriage Works, and WATCHDOGS/Dads of Great Students (“DOGS”). His mission and purpose is to educate young men and women about the important role that Fathers play in the lives of their children and of the necessity to increase involvement of Fathers in the lives of their children.
Involvement with Montgomery County Office of Ex-Offender Re-Entry: This is a program initiated by Judge Walter Rice and Commissioner Deborah Lieberman. It is a program intended to assist ex-offenders in finding employment opportunities so that they have the ability to have an income in order to pay child support obligations. It is recognized that ex-felons, be they men or women, have difficulty in finding employment due to their criminal records. This program is designed to work with employers who are willing to overlook criminal records and be actively involved in employing those persons who have paid their debt(s) to society.
Speaking Engagements: Mike is a frequent invited speaker to community agencies such as the following:
- Sinclair Community College.
- Dayton Correctional Institute (“DCI”).
- Churches within the community.
- Probation Youth of the Juvenile Court (Montgomery County).
- Seek Work Program.
- Marriage Works.
I asked Mike what he liked most about his position of employment. He responded with “the ability to be able to help the clients!” I then asked him about what he liked the least about his position of employment. He responded with “the persons who show no empathy toward their children and their needs.”
When I asked Mike if he could ask for money or grants for this program, what would he seek? He would ask for grants of money with which to do research to see if the present programs are producing changes in parenting outcomes.
In my interview with Michael Newsom, I found him to be friendly and engaging and I found him to be most interested and involved with his goal—to improve parenting outcomes for Fathers in Montgomery County, Ohio and to have all Fathers of minor children be more engaged in the lives of their minor children. Mike is an employee dedicated to his mission and it is a worthy one indeed.
- National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse: www.fatherhood.gov/home
- National Responsible Fatherhood Capacity Building Initiative: http://capacitybuilding.fatherhood.org/page.aspx?pid=634
- Ohio Practitioners’ Network for Father’s and Families: www.opnff.net/
- National Fatherhood Initiative: www.fatherhood.org
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Anne Shale is of counsel to Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. She is a former registered nurse and concentrates her practice in Family Law and Divorce cases.