Fathers Day: A call to engage dads in family and community

Celebrate the men who father children and serve as father figures this Father's Day 2013

Celebrate the men who father children and serve as father figures this Father’s Day 2013

By Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Child Care Aware® of America

June 16 is Father’s Day.  It’s a day to recognize your father, but also reflect on the important roles fathers, and father figures, play in children’s lives.

Did you know? Dads, by the numbers
More than 560,000 children in the United States live in father-only families.  And in families with a mother and a father in the home, fathers are taking increasing primary care responsibilities, according to 2011 Census data.

Consider this:

  • 21 percent of fathers are primary care providers for children under the age of 5
  • In families with an employed wife, 34 percent of fathers were the primary care providers for their preschoolers in 2011. In 2005 that number was 29 percent.
  • The number of single fathers increased fivefold between 1970 and 2000 (Fatherneed)

Fathers’ roles continue to change
It’s clear – fathers are doing more of the care and that is critical progress, because a father’s impact lasts a lifetime.

“Success in everything else is unfulfilling if we fail at family,” President Obama said to the men graduating from Morehouse college last month.

Engaging the whole family
Fathers, we must do right by you as well. We must learn how to better ensure the entire family is engaged in their children’s early learning.

One place to start is the Office of Head Start Father’s Day Webinar “Father Engagement is Everybody’s Business”  tomorrow, June 4.

Father figures
Fathers take many forms. They are made by biology and by choice. Every man who cares for a niece or nephew, grandchild or cousin, stepchild or neighbor is a father.  To you I say your impact is immeasurable.

Child Care Aware® of America thanks the dads, grandfathers and friends for the important role they play in children, families and communities.

Tell us. Is there  a special man in your life who is a dad or a father figure?  How do you celebrate Fathers Day?

Administration for Children and Families Office of Head Start
Fatherneed by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D.  p. 111