President Obama launches fatherhood initiative at THEARC in Southeast

Happy belated Father's Day to all the dads out there. 

President Obama will be heading over to the THEARC arts and recreation center in Southeast today to announce the creation of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, an effort that will be central to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The administration will embark on a six-city listening tour to learn about the impact of fatherlessness on children and communities. 

The president is pressing Congress to approve $500 million for a Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund, which would give grants to nonprofits that support fathers and families with programs such as job training and economic incentives for being a good father. (Read the story in the Washington Post.)

Nearly 24 million children across the country last year lived in households without their biological father. For low-income children, about 2 out of 3 live without their father. 

For children growing up below the poverty line, having little or no contact with their father often compounds their problems and makes it less likely that they will graduate from high school. In the District, Wards 7 and 8 have the highest percentages of children under five living in households headed by single mothers below the poverty level, at nearly 26 and 31 percent, respectively, according to data from 2000. (OSSE, Risk and Reach Assessment, 2008.) 

Additional resources are available from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse at fatherhood.gov.