The vote (Roll No. 212) was yeas 415, nays 0, not voting 18.


   (U.S. House of Representatives - June 09, 1998)

      H. Res. 417

   Whereas studies reveal that even in high-crime, inner-city neighborhoods, well over 90 percent of  children from safe, stable, two-parent homes do not become delinquents;

   Whereas researchers have linked father presence with improved fetal and infant development, and father-child interaction has been shown to promote a child's physical well-being, perceptual abilities, and competency for relatedness with other persons, even at a young age;


   Whereas premature infants whose fathers spend ample time playing with them have better cognitive  outcomes, and children who have higher than average self-esteem and lower than average depression report having a close relationship with their father;

   Whereas both boys and girls demonstrate a greater ability to take initiative and evidence    self-control when they are reared with fathers who are actively involved in their upbringing;

   Whereas, although mothers often work tremendously hard to rear their children in a nurturing environment, a mother can benefit from the positive support of the father of her children;

   Whereas, according to a 1996 Gallup Poll, 79.1 percent of Americans believe the most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home and the resulting lack of involvement of fathers in the rearing and development of their children;

   Whereas, according to the Bureau of the Census, in 1994, 19,500,000 children in the United States (nearly one-fourth of all children in the United States) lived in families in which the father was absent;

   Whereas, according to a 1996 Gallup Poll, 90.9 percent of Americans believe it is important for children to live in a home with both their mother and their father';

   Whereas it is estimated that half of all United States children born today will spend at least half their childhood in a family in which a father figure is absent;

   Whereas estimates of the likelihood that marriages will end in divorce range from 40 percent to 50 percent, and approximately three out of every five divorcing couples have at least one child;

   Whereas almost half of all 11- through 16-year-old children who live in mother-headed homes have not seen their father in the last twelve months;

   Whereas the likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is reared without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families;

   Whereas children of single-parents are less likely to complete high school and more likely to have low earnings and low employment stability as adults than children reared in two-parent families;

   Whereas a 1990 Los Angeles Times poll found that 57 percent of all fathers and 55 percent of all mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children;

   Whereas almost 20 percent of 6th through 12th graders report that they have not had a good conversation lasting for at least 10 minutes with at least one of their parents in more than a month;

   Whereas, according to a Gallup poll, over 50 percent of all adults agreed that fathers today spend less time with their children than their fathers spent with them;

   Whereas President Clinton has stated that `the single biggest social problem in our society may be the growing absence of fathers from their children's homes because it contributes to so many other social problems' and that 'the real source of the [welfare] problem is the inordinate number of out of wedlock births in this country';

   Whereas the Congressional Task Force on Fatherhood Promotion and the Senate Task Force on Fatherhood Promotion were both formed in 1997, and the Governors Fatherhood Task Force was formed in February 1998;

   Whereas the Congressional Task Force on Fatherhood Promotion is exploring the social changes that are required to ensure that every child is reared with a father who is committed to be actively involved in the rearing and development of his children;

   Whereas the 36 members of the Congressional Task Force on Fatherhood Promotion are promoting fatherhood in their congressional districts;

   Whereas the National Fatherhood Initiative is holding a National Summit on Fatherhood in Washington, D.C., 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;

   Whereas both Republican and Democrat leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate  will be participating in this event; and Whereas the promotion of fatherhood is a bipartisan issue: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

   (1) recognizes that the creation of a better America depends in large part on the active involvement of fathers in the rearing and development of their children;

   (2) urges each father in America to accept his full share of responsibility for the lives of his children,  to be actively involved in rearing his children, and to encourage the academic, moral, and spiritual  development of his children and urges the States to aggressively prosecute those fathers who fail to fulfill their legal responsibility to pay child support;

   (3) encourages each father to devote time, energy, and resources to his children, recognizing that children need not only material support, but more importantly a secure, affectionate, family environment; and

   (4) expresses its support for a national summit on fatherhood.



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