Today, father absence is among the most pervasive social problems challenging American families. But the presence of a responsible father improves a variety of outcomes for children and serves as a protective factor against problem behaviors including teen drug use, pregnancy, truancy, and criminal activity. Thus, supporting and encouraging fathers to become more present and actively involved in their child's life offers significant potential to empower individual lives, foster families, and contribute to community well-being.

While the vision is to have all fathers positively involved in the lives of their children and families, mentoring or having the presence of a positive father figure in the absence of a positively involved father has proven to be a powerful tool for helping youth reach their full potential. Mentors and positive father figures can provide support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples. Quality mentoring relationships offer significant potential to reduce the adverse effects of father absence by improving young people’s attitudes toward parents, encouraging students to focus on their education, and helping children face daily challenges. Also, mentoring serves as an important means to promote responsible fatherhood via supporting and encouraging caring adults to become actively involved in the lives of children and youth.



There is a father absence crisis in America

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today.


There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison or jail. Ninety-five (95%) of all inmates will eventually be released. Ninety-two percent (92%) of parents in prison are fathers. Most—2 out of 3 inmates—will reoffend and be back in prison


Having a parent who is incarcerated is now recognized as an “adverse childhood experience” (ACE), which is different from other ACEs because of the trauma, stigma, and shame it inflicts on children.


Individuals from father absent homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers that live with their father.
(2017. U.S. Census Bureau. Data represent children living without a biological, step, or adoptive father.)