Clinton Boyd, Jr., PhD, is on a mission to empower Black dads. He knows the obstacles they face because he became a father at 15 years old, is currently co-raising a baby, and has worked with Black dads to navigate the barriers to parenthood. “I was a young parent without having access to the kinds of structural support that would allow me to thrive as a parent,” he recalls. “What allowed me to get ahead was the love of my family. I will always be indebted to them for the support they gave me as I struggled to find my way.
As a home visitor and parenting scholar at the Samuel Dubois Cook Equity Center at Duke University, located in Durham, NC, Clinton used his experience as a young father to build a career focused on supporting other men in similar situations. His current research and policy work examines fatherhood among Black families, with an emphasis on fathers. "We must value the impact of a parent on a child's well-being," he pleads, as "children who have loving and involved parents have better educational and developmental outcomes."
Unfortunately, "Black parents face persistent social marginalization, which undermines their relationships with their children," as Clinton saw when serving as an advocate for families in Chicago. “Early in my career, I worked as a family advocate for an organization called Family Focus. In this role, I connected Black parents returning home from prison with community resources,” explains Clinton. And he learned something, too, by working with group after group over a span of two years.
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