A Father’s Involvement Matters
Fathers, like mothers, are essential in the development of children’s emotional and social well-being. The impact that a father has on his children’s lives cannot be understated. According to Dr. David Popenoe, author of the book Life Without Father, fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is likely to bring. Children with involved fathers are less likely to engage in risky behaviors in adolescence and more likely to develop healthy relationships as adults.
When a father is emotionally or physically absent, children tend to look to others to learn how to cope, behave and survive in the world. An American Institutes for Research study found that children growing up without fathers face greater risk for homelessness, exhibit poor academic performance and are more likely to commit suicide. The risk is even greater for children in the child welfare system.
In an effort to empower fathers to engage in all stages of their child’s and family’s involvement with the child welfare system, the County of Orange Social Services Agency (SSA) developed the Father Engagement program. SSA staff and community partners walk alongside fathers throughout their journey as they work to maintain connections with their children and help establish permanency through reunification. Fathers are equipped with personal support and encouragement, one-on-one mentorships and resources to strengthen the father/child relationship.
Fathers who successfully reunify with their children have the opportunity to help other fathers facing the same challenges through the Parent Volunteer program. Parent volunteers reinforce the collaboration between parents and their family reunification team consisting of SSA staff and community service providers. More importantly, fathers who volunteer develop leadership skills which strengthen self-sufficiency and family unity.
Fathers play an irreplaceable role in healthy child development and have a significant and long-lasting impact in their children’s lives. Fathers matter.
To all biological, foster and adoptive fathers and father figures, SSA wishes you a day filled with joy, fun and special memories. Happy Father’s Day.