In other action this week, the Missouri Senate agreed to go along with the House’s recommendation of funding father and marriage responsibility initiatives at $1.5 million. This virtually guarantees the funding will remain in the budget that is finally submitted to Governor Nixon.
The move to fund programs that encourage more parental responsibility, especially by absent fathers, was initiated last year when the Missouri Catholic Conference sought and obtained an amendment to welfare reform legislation to allow some of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to be used for this purpose.
A great deal of research has demonstrated how important two-parent families are to children. Daughters raised without fathers are far more likely to become pregnant as teens, while sons in the same circumstances are more likely to end up incarcerated.
Look for a new MCC Messenger Online in the coming weeks that will explore this issue and especially highlight the work of the St. Louis based Fathers’ Support Center (FSC). Centers like FSC will be able to apply for grants to expand their outreach to fathers and the effort to strengthen families in poverty because of the new state funding.