GERMANTOWN, Md. – Just ahead of Father’s Day, National Fatherhood Initiative, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to end father absence, is celebrating its 25th year of educating, equipping and engaging communities to increase father involvement in children’s lives.
NFI was founded in 1994 to reverse the nation’s destructive trend toward father absence. Over the past 25 years, the organization has developed numerous programs, resources and trainings to equip organizations (governmental and nongovernmental) around the country to help men be the best dads they can be. It launched the first national public service campaign on father involvement in 1997, along with the first bipartisan Congressional Task Force on responsible fatherhood. In the decades that followed, NFI published seven editions of Father Facts, the nation’s most comprehensive compilation of social science research showing the effects of father absence on children and the benefits of father involvement.
Since NFI was founded, the proportion of children in the U.S. who grow up without a biological, step or adoptive father in their home has remained flat at 27.5% following its peak in 1995. According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau data:
♦ The proportion of children who grow up in a home without a biological, step or adoptive father has fallen to 26.8% from 27.5%. That’s the smallest proportion in any year in this decade;
♦ The number of children in a father-absent home has also fallen from 20.2 million to 19.7 million, a 2.5% drop. That’s the fewest children in any year in this decade.
“Over the past 25 years, NFI has remained committed to our vision for every child to grow up with an involved, responsible and committed father,” said Christopher Brown, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. “Father absence is a significant societal ill and one that has not gone away. But, thanks to the thousands of partnerships we’ve established with organizations across the country working to strengthen families and comunities, we’ve stemmed the tide of father absence. That’s important to recognize as we look back and forge ahead in our efforts to someday eliminate this societal ill altogether.”
It is the work of NFI’s partners that put the organization’s vision in reach. In recognition of their achievements and its 25th anniversary, NFI is highlighting the work of five, long-standing fatherhood champions in a series of blog posts on fatherhood.org. In-depth interviews with these fatherhood champions will reveal:
♦ How their organization serves fathers (or supports services for fathers) and their role within their organization;
♦ How their past influenced their work with fathers today;
♦ How their community views fathers and fatherhood;
♦ What’s most important for fathers to know to be involved in their children’s lives;
♦ What’s most important for organizations to know that serve or want to serve fathers;
♦ How they’ve partnered with NFI to support fathers;
♦ The most inspirational “father story” they’ve experienced.
According to William Johnson, co-chairman of the Coshocton County, Ohio, Fatherhood Initiative, “It takes a while to develop a fatherhood initiative and fatherhood programming. We’ve been successful because of NFI’s programs and resources. They have, in my opinion, the nation’s best technical support to help programs change fathers’ lives. Their staff always has time to talk with us and guide us in the right direction.”
For more information on National Fatherhood Initiative, visit www.fatherhood.org.