The absence of fathers in the home has profound consequences for children. Almost 75 percent of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11-years old, compared to only 20 percent of children in two-parent families (National Commission on Children,1993). Indeed, virtually all of the increase in child poverty between 1970 and 1996 was due to the growth of single parent families (Sawhill, 1999). Children who grow up absent their fathers are also more likely to fail at school or to drop out, experience behavioral or emotional problems requiring psychiatric treatment, engage in early sexual activity, and develop drug and alcohol problems (McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994). This paper presents ways to encourage male responsibility and prevent premature fatherhood. (Author abstract, modified).
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