Restoring Fathers to Families and Communities: Six Steps for Policymakers.

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Sylvester, K.
Reich, K.
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State and local policymakers are advised to follow a six-step strategy for developing initiatives to promote father-child relationships: teach men to be good parents; help fathers improve relationships with the mothers of their children; facilitate employment for low-income fathers; allocate federal funds to programs for fathers; enhance the child support system; and increase public awareness about the value of fathers. This guide describes the considerations for each step and recommends action strategies for government officials. Suggestions include: integrate fatherhood modules into sex education programs; provide support to incarcerated fathers to maintain parent-child relationships; promote pre-marital counseling; and require programs for fathers to identify and report domestic violence. States also should consider: collaborative efforts between parenting programs for fathers and job training programs; permiting modification orders for low-income fathers who are searching for a job; and requesting a demonstration grant for non-custodial parents from the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, governments should cancel child support debt when the parents marry and allow fathers to claim a credit for child support on state income taxes. Examples of innovative programs are briefly described in each chapter.

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