Since 2005, it has connected more than 9,000 men to resources to better meet the emotional and financial needs of their children and families while improving their life outcomes.
The 9th annual Fatherhood Summit, which is a part of the Fatherhood Initiative, will take place Friday, Oct. 31 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 1 from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Destiny Youth Plaza, 7210 N. 76th Street.
The goal of this free two-day public event is to create more effective dads and, in turn, stronger families and communities.
As we gear up for this year’s event, let’s give a shout out to dads. Although there is nothing like a mother’s love, the impact of a present father cannot be overstated.
Why are dads important? A significant body of research conducted by academic and medical communities, government agencies, children’s groups and others document the vital role of fathers.
Let’s look at the facts. Children with fathers present tend to have higher achievement levels and lower levels of behavioral problems. Individuals whose fathers showed more involvement in their lives early on tend to achieve higher levels of education. Adolescents who have positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
Teenagers who have positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to engage in delinquency.
Growing up with a father significantly reduces the likelihood of incarceration in later life.
Now let’s look at the flip side.
There is no question that when a child grows up in a fatherless home, the child is placed at an increased risk of a host of poor life outcomes.
According to the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services, 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes and 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite that 85% of children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, according to the National Principals Association Report.
The U.S. Department of Justice found that 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
Father absence is the most consequential societal issues of our time. It impacts every corner of our city and people from all walks of life. According to U. S. Census Bureau data, two in three African American children, one in three Hispanic children and one in four white children live in fatherless homes.
We must come together at our annual Fatherhood Summit and year-round to combat the crisis of absentee fathers and transform the way we view the role of fathers in their children’s lives and in our community. Better dads make a better Milwaukee.
I applaud all of the agencies, groups, businesses and individuals who will gather together to support dads at this year’s summit.
At the summit, Milwaukee County Child Support staff will review cases to reduce eligible child support interest debt.
Center for Driver’s License Recovery staff will help men restore driving privileges.
Information on new Milwaukee County bus routes that provide fathers the access to employers and jobs in area suburbs will be highlighted.
Affordable Care Act enrollment that starts November 15th will also be a summit topic.
Saturday morning will feature a special session on skilled trades training and job opportunities arising from the construction of the new Northwestern Mutual headquarters and other large economic development projects.
The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/ BIG STEP will lead the session.
A job and resource fair will be offered both days and feature employers who are hiring as well as resources in the areas of health, housing, financial empowerment, education and public safety.
Other summit topics will include the importance of good health, credit repair, starting a business, healing broken relationships and changing one’s life direction.