A Shout Out to Fathers and Father Figures

In celebration of Father’s Day, CSSP would like to give a shout out to all fathers and father figures!

The facts are out there highlighting the importance of relationships between fathers and their children for healthy child development and well-being of families. Research shows that children with involved fathers are twice as likely to enter college or find stable employment after high school and 75 percent less likely to have a teen birth as those who do not report a close relationship with their fathers. Children in foster care with highly involved nonresidential fathers are discharged more quickly, are more likely to be reunified and have a lower likelihood of subsequent maltreatment.

CSSP works to ensure public systems are shaped and guided by the latest research and best practice. In February 2017, we released a report Changing Systems & Practice to Improve Outcomes For Young Fathers, Their Children & Their Families providing recommendations on how child welfare systems can better engage and support fathers in their role as parents and increase positive outcomes for fathers, their children and families.

Public systems have long been responsible for reproducing the dominant oppressive narrative of fathers, especially fathers of color, as absent and negligent. Policy and practice centered on these assumptions create barriers and inequities that minimize fathers’ participation in their children’s lives to the detriment of thriving families and communities throughout the country.

CSSP is issuing a call to action this Father’s Day in support of public system efforts to better engage and serve fathers and father figures.  

Suggested action steps:

  • Leading with data that highlights fathers’ strengths and contributions to child well-being and thriving families.
  • Ensuring physical spaces are reflective of inclusive images of fathers. 
  • Uplifting the voices of fathers and ensuring they inform policy and practice decisions.
  • Being mindful of language used in communication and on forms.
  • Tweeting positive and inclusive messages that uplift parenthood, fatherhood and those who serve as father figures. This year, consider using any of the following hashtags: #fathersday2018, #ilovemydad, #thanksdad, #BestDadAward, #MyDadMyHero

CSSP challenges you to ask what you will do this Father’s Day to support the recognition of fathers as key members of families and as part of shaping better futures for children, families and communities.

Derick Gomez is a program and research assistant at CSSP.