Fatherhood and foster care

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‘Fatherhood’ is the only answer I give when people ask what will fix what I often call the ‘broken’ foster care system. While better judges, faster timelines, and addressing caseworker burnout may help ease some of the stress on the overburdened American foster care system, it won’t fix anything. The only thing that will? Dads.

If you can’t trust me from experience, check out these incredible stats on the importance of fathers. The very long list includes that children who grow up without a father are 4x more likely to be in poverty, 2x more likely to drop out of high school, and—perhaps the most disturbing—7x more likely to become pregnant as a teen [1].

What happened to fatherhood?

The U.S. Census Bureau says 1 in 3 children in America live without a father. In fact, from 1960 to 2016, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent [2]. Unfortunately, emphasizing any differences (i.e. improvements) a dad brings to a child’s life leaves you at risk of becoming the enemy of the Big Abortion Political Machine in our country.

But, wait. Why would the abortion industry want to diminish the role of fathers?

Here’s their rub: if the country begins to admit that dads offer a worthwhile contribution to parenthood, we inch closer to giving dads rights to their unborn children. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court has ruled that fathers have no rights when it comes to their unborn children. Even requiring a spouse's consent for a married woman's abortion is unconstitutional (Planned Parenthood v. Danforth), they say, and the unborn child’s father doesn’t even have to be notified after one occurs (Planned Parenthood v. Casey).

A big reason there are half a million children in the American foster care system is to protect abortion.

Seems counter-intuitive, right? If ‘unplanned’ or ‘unwanted’ pregnancies are ended, there should be fewer ‘unprepared’ or ‘unequipped’ parents, right? Shouldn’t there be fewer kids who need foster care? (I say this only to repeat the line I’ve heard from others, not intending to give credence to the disturbing idea that a child is better off dead in the womb than living in foster care.) Unfortunately for the witty-rally-sign-writers, that isn’t the case. Yes, I’m pleased to know that the abortion rate in the United States is at its lowest since 1973 [3]. But even though non-permanent contraception use has increased [4] (and while the overall rate of contraceptive use exceeds 60% [5]), unplanned pregnancies still account for nearly half (45% or 2.8 million) of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States each year [6]. Bottom line: we hand out condoms at high schools, the government pays for birth control pills, and we encourage abortion-on-demand, but the rate of children in foster care continues to increase [7]. (Side note, if you’ve read the so-called “Romania case study” about how abortion bans lead to overwhelmed orphanages, please read this.)

Let me explain.

Abortion is big business. Allowing fathers the right to preserve their unborn children would put a huge roadblock in the way of this cash cow. So, abortion has been labelled a ‘women’s rights issue’ to silence men from having a fair voice in the future of their child’s life.

Unfortunately, because this movement loudly labels fatherhood as obsolete to protect abortion, they are also eroding the reality of American fatherhood and hurting kids who need daddies and other male figures in their lives today. Remember the stat above that children who grow up without a father are four times more likely to live in poverty? Sobering. And the last large-scale study related to fatherhood and foster care found that more than half of children in foster care came from single, female-headed households [8]. The media screams that we can redefine a ‘family,’ but the ‘family’ simply doesn’t work as well without dad.

Even if a mother choses to make an adoption plan for her unborn child, dads can be dramatically shortchanged by an obscure law. Did you know there’s a system in most states called a paternity registry? Probably not. But since NO state requires a pregnant, unmarried woman to report the name of her child’s father, registering in this system (that almost no one knows about) is the only way a biological father can be guaranteed to receive notification or a voice in court [9]In other words, a dad could be fully prepared to raise his child, but if his girlfriend changes her mind, she can give birth and legalize his child’s adoption without even telling him. (This is Christopher Emanuel’s story.)

The talk of toxic masculinity and the (necessary) #MeToo movement are making it difficult to talk positively about men these days, but we need to be willing to discuss the possibility that the breakdown of the family—and the removal of a consistent, positive male role model—is what is causing a lot of our country’s problems. We need to be willing to address that the lack of fatherhood has led to tidal waves of children overwhelming the American foster care system.

If you think I’m only talking about the kids today, it’s bigger than that. I’m talking about the kids thirty, twenty, and fifteen years ago. I’m talking about the kids RAISED without dads in the 90s and 2000s who are now semi-adults or adults. I’m talking about the girl who was raised by a single mom and is now a mom of teens herself. I’m talking about the boy who was raised without ever seeing a role model of what successful manhood looks like [10]. I’m talking about the child two, three, and four generations into the hijacking of feminism who was raised by a single woman who was raised by a single woman… We’re oceans deep into no-daddies-necessary, and it’s drowning us.

The only thing that will fix foster care on a large scale is the acknowledgement of God’s design and admitting that:

  1. having a father in the home statistically improves children’s lives, and
  2. a stable, loving family is the ideal place to raise a child.

The solution to fixing the foster care system is the long-term, systematic promotion of positive fatherhood.

 

 

 

[1] https://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood-data-statistics

[2] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-192.html

[3] https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/us-abortion-rate-continues-decline-hits-historic-low

[4] Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, including the IUD and implant  https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2017/10/contraceptive-method-use-united-states-trends-and-characteristics-between-2008-2012

[5] https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/overall-contraceptive-use-united-states-remained-steady-2008-2014

[6] https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states

[7] https://www.acf.hhs.gov/media/press/2017/number-of-children-in-foster-care-continues-to-increase

[8] National Study of Protective, Preventive, and Reunification Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[9] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/paternity-registry/396044/

[10] I want to clarify that a Christian, two-parent family is not the ONLY possible circumstance to raise healthy kids, and I’m not advocating some sort of mandated two-parent household where widows and widowers lose their children. And I’m certainly not suggesting that a single mother should ever, EVER EVER stay with an abusive father.