USA – Indiana – For kids’ sake, don’t discourage dad’s involvement

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Stuart Showalter

For kids’ sake, don’t discourage dad’s involvement

Posted: August 23, 2009

As someone who is a child advocate and works with the Indiana General Assembly to help make Indiana’s laws more child-friendly, I’m not surprised to see Indiana rank 31st in the 2009 Kids Count Survey.

Although there are some family dynamics over which we have little control, there is a much greater ability for us to formulate policies that could benefit children.

Sen. Evan Bayh’s Responsible Fatherhood Act was recently reintroduced in the U.S. Congress. Legislation like this is a step in the direction that will aid the well-being of children. Bayh’s findings in the act include: “There is an irrefutable body of evidence demonstrating that father absence is a major contributor to such troubling societal trends as increased teen pregnancy, teen violence, educational under-performance, and drug and alcohol abuse. Children who grow up without a dad are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime. They are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to commit suicide and more likely to become teenage parents.”

Yet Indiana still maintains a policy of promoting single-parent households.

Next year Hoosier lawmakers will have an opportunity to initiate policies that will benefit our children. Currently Indiana family law court judges order fathers out of their children’s lives in about 80 percent of divorces without providing a reason unless specifically requested to do so. State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, plans to reintroduce a shared-parenting bill that would require judges to presume that both parents are fit to continue raising their children together after a dissolution and to enter specific findings as to why shared parenting is not in the child’s best interest if it is not ordered.

The rate of children born out of wedlock is steadily increasing in Indiana. Oftentimes children are born without the fathers being involved or even knowing of the birth. Paternity is established in only about 20,000 out of more than 35,000 of these births. State Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, intends to introduce a bill that would require a father to establish paternity at the time of or before birth. If this is not done, then the mother would have to name a putative father who would receive notice and opportunity to establish parenthood.

These are just two bills that will aid Hoosier children by promoting the rearing of children in two-parent households. The concept of children being raised by both parents still faces a huge hurdle though. Until the federal government reverses its incentive payment program to the states for forcing one parent out of a child’s life, Hoosier lawmakers are likely to remain addicted to that incentive money to the detriment of our children.

The American Coalition of Fathers and Children has proposed an amendment to Sen. Bayh’s bill that would change federal policy of providing Social Security money to states to break up families and instead be used to keep both parents involved with their children.

Our children are far too valuable to be sold into the potential for destruction simply because lawmakers want to balance a state budget.

 

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In Your Voice

indydads wrote:

SS, I enjoyed this article and commend you on the work you are doing. People like you, Dads Inc, and Circle City Fatherhood are showing the city dads who are involved and apart of their child’s lives whether it be married or divorced.
As for the Teacher, I am saddened by your comments. I’m a single father of two wonderful children and fought hard to get full custody of them. Because of that I am one of the lucky ones. My children live with me full time and see their mom once a week and on the weekends. I have changed my life for my children and modeled it after the shared parenting rules. When you lump every dad into your childish stereotype you’re doing a disservice to the dads who are involved and apart of their children’s lives. I see many men on indydads.com who are involved and play a big part in their children’s lives. If you want to see a world without fathers look at Hollywood. Your Lindsay and Brittney are examples of fatherless homes. As a teacher I would expect more.
8/23/2009 11:58:17 PM

Excuse me teacher for your terrible childhood. I am ‘One of those fathers’ who actually wants to be VERY involved in his children’s life’s. I had my children every other week for 3 years. They are quite well adjusted and were very happy with that arrangement at the time. It was not until mom decided to move out of the school district that the problems started. YOUR situation may have benn different, But as long as BOTH parents make an effort to MAKE things work and NOT disrupt the lives of their children (such as moving to another school district ) THEN shared parenting CAN WORK. And oh by the way…If my Ex EVER doesn’t want or CAN’T take on the responiblity of our kids..I NEVER HAVE AND NEVER WILL WANT A DIME FROM HER…so as far as GREEDY DAD’S are concerned…GO TO HELL

8/23/2009 11:12:56 PM

 

InCRA wrote:

Replying to Bhjester:

Replying to PlayItAgain:

It sounds like the assumption is that all fathers are good influences and want to be activily involved in their children’s lives. That assumption is grossly incorrect.

No..it’s that all Mother’s know how to raise children better than fathers. Anytime you use the word ALL in ANY situation, YOU are most likely to be incorrect..

Neither all mothers or all fathers make the best parents.

“Mothers AND fathers make the best parents” should be the presumption in court unless there is clear and convincing evidence that they do not. Shared Parenting bills are not about mandating equal custody. They are about mandating that judges view both parents and the children as being entitled to the same due process. -Stuart
8/23/2009 11:09:03 PM

Replying to seniorteacher:

I am all or Dad’s involvement in children’s lives, . . . They don’t want two homes; they want one. . . . . It is about what the child needs. So all you greedy dads back off. Children need one home, be it one parent or two. They can visit you on the weekend and summer vacations, and you can be there when they need you. But please do not demand shared custody.

You say you are all for dads involvement but why have you decided dads should be visitors?

Children do want one home but usually a parent decides that he or she doesn’t want that and breaks the family apart. If you believe it should be about what the child needs then why be prejudiced and discriminate against fathers. If fathers are to be there when children need them then they need to be parents not occasional visitors.

This is why we are seeking a mandate that judges must decide and provide justification for custody arrangements. Evan Bayh has been clear about the damage caused by lack of fathers.
8/23/2009 11:02:33 PM

Bhjester wrote:

Replying to PlayItAgain:

It sounds like the assumption is that all fathers are good influences and want to be activily involved in their children’s lives. That assumption is grossly incorrect.

No..it’s that all Mother’s know how to raise children better than fathers. Anytime you use the word ALL in ANY situation, YOU are most likely to be incorrect..
8/23/2009 11:00:41 PM

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2 Responses to USA – Indiana – For kids’ sake, don’t discourage dad’s involvement

  1. bobbie cordero says:

    I was so happy to hear that there is a possibility that FINALLY the legal community is gettting the very critical point that “the best parent is 2 parents.” And, that both dad and mom should be considered equal before the justice system in deciding the custody of children. The system should begin with the premise that both parents should be given equally shared custody. Then, and only then, if there is a history of any kind of problem by EITHER of the parents, then the custody shold be granted according to the best interests of the children.
    There is a wonderful book titled “That’s Just The Way It Is” by Bobbie Cordero http://www.eloquentbooks.com/That‘sJustTheWayItIs.html that is designed to show that both parents usually love their children equally and even though everyone suffers when custody is an issue, that a father’s impact can remain constant and positive in the life of a child. This story conveys the loving, nurturing and critical relationship between a father and his 5 year old daughter.
    This book shows that fathers can parent equally as well as mothers and they should not be discriminated against with false assumptions.
    I applaud the Senator’s attempts to successfully get a bill passed for EQUAL shared parenting.

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