A nonbinding resolution (H. Res. 522) urging fathers to participate in the lives of their children was approved, by voice vote, by the House on June 19. Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), the resolution calls on “governments and institutions at every level…to enact policies that encourage and support the efforts of fathers who want to become more engaged in the lives of their children.” The measure also recognizes the National Fatherhood Initiative, saying the group “holds an annual National Summit on Fatherhood…with the purpose of mobilizing a response to father absence in several of the most powerful sectors of society—including public policy, public and private social services, education, religion, entertainment, the media, and the civic community.”
H. Res. 522 cites U.S. Census Bureau statistics showing that in 1996, more than 16 million children lived in families with absent fathers.
Last November, the House approved a bill (H.R. 3073) aimed at improving fatherhood participation (see The Source, 11/12/99). The Senate has not considered similar legislation.