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President Obama's Advisory Council issues recommendations about Fatherhood and healthy families

President Barack Obama is reaching out to empower fathers.
President Barack Obama is reaching out to empower fathers.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

The week of March 11, President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships issued a report called, A New Era of Partnerships: Report of Recommendations to the President.  The report covered many topics, such as poverty, climate change, and inter-religious cooperation.  More importantly to this column, the report spent 25 pages to focus on fatherhood, a topic very often neglected by social organizations and policy-makers.

The Council did not include any specifically local members or organizations, but did feature the P.E.A.C.E Initiative, a San Antonio-based coalition to end domestic violence, and Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering and former Garland pastor and Dallas Cowboys chaplain.

The Report

The entire report is a 176 page manifesto that exhaustively covers all of the topics listed above and more, with the father-focused content running from pages 27 to 52.  If you choose to download it, you'll need to clear your schedule for an evening or two to complete and absorb the information.  If not, read below for a very abbreviated summary of the Council's recommendations.

The Core Concepts

Below is the mission statement for the fatherhood recommendations:

A single overarching conviction shaped our deliberations: Responsible, engaged fathers
are critical to the financial, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of
and therefore to the strength and health of American families and communities.

Summary of the Recommendations to the President

  1. Hold quarterly White House Partnership Roundtables focusing on increasing father involvement.
  2. Host an annual Father's Day Celebration at the White House to honor outstanding fathers.
  3. Model the role of committed husband and father and personally affirm other fathers.
  4. Challenge agencies to work together for the good of fathers and children.
  5. Increase funding for fatherhood programming.
  6. Invest in high-quality evaluation of fatherhood programming.
  7. Develop better ways to reach fathers of all cultures and languages.
  8. Train health care and human service workers to better serve fathers.
  9. Include job placement and financial services under federal grants.

What does the report mean for Denton fathers?

Most of the recommendations will have a "trickle-down" effect on fathers in the Denton and Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Many of these recommendations focus on funding, training, and cooperation, which could take months or years to take effect, similar to the health-care reforms.  However, Denton area fathers could see immediate impact from two of the recommendations:  President Obama modeling his commitment to his family and the annual Father's Day celebration at the White House.  These two should be examples for fathers nationwide, and perhaps, provide the opportunity for some local fathers to be honored by the President.

The President's Support

This initiative will likely have the President's full support based on his very impassioned speech from Father's Day 2009.

"In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference. That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one."

Even if you have disagreed with President Obama in the past, at least this time, you must agree with him on his passionate hope for fathers.

Check back for future articles relating to the Recommendations from the President's Advisory Council and Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

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