John Kitzhaber on Families & Children
Invest in children in early years to prevent tragic failures
Each year in Oregon, we lose thousands of our children to school failure, school drop out and subsequent involvement in the criminal justice system.
If there were a disease that affected this many children we would view it as an epidemic.
We would muster our resources and meet the challenge aggressively. There would be no question. Well, this is an epidemic -- and its course is just as deadly sure -- not from an infectious agent, but from drugs or alcohol or violence.
from neglect and indifference.
This tragedy is due, in large part, to our failure to make adequate investments in our children in their earliest years. As a consequence, we pay for their failure, instead of benefiting from their success.
We know who these children are long before they get into trouble. And we know the kinds of programs and supports that are effective in keeping them on the path to success.
Source: Opening Address 71st Legislative Session of Oregon
, Jan 8, 2001
Encourage fathers' participation in child-raising.
Kitzhaber adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueGrowing evidence suggests that children from families in which fathers do not contribute their time and support endure a number of risk factors. Children with absent fathers are more likely to drop out of school, become teenage parents, develop drug or alcohol problems, or become involved in violent criminal behavior. Congress and the administration have recently proposed a number of federal programs to support state and local fatherhood initiatives.
NGA’s Position Governors believe that government at all levels can and should take immediate action to help reduce the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage active participation by fathers of all ages in raising their children. Governors have played a leadership role at both the national and state level in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to strengthen the role of fathers in their childrens’ lives. While many Governors are using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other federal program funds to support state-specific fatherhood initiatives, additional investment in fatherhood would broaden the population of fathers that can be served. Governors believe that there should be support of and coordination between existing programs and any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives and that these new initiatives should not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA12 on Sep 7, 2001
Federal funds & state involvement in fatherhood initiatives.
Kitzhaber adopted the National Governors Association policy:
The nation’s Governors recognize that governments at all levels can and should take immediate action including:
- providing additional education and information about the importance of fathers participating in raising their children;
- establishing a nongovernmental national clearinghouse to collect and disseminate information regarding responsible fatherhood;
- expanding efforts to prevent unintended and out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies;
- providing children with appropriate adult male role models, such as mentors, in the absence of a caring father;
- ensuring that young men are given opportunities to feel successful and valued, which will lead to the development of self-confidence and preparation for fatherhood;
- encouraging the involvement of the community, including the religious community, civic community, business community, and mentors in addressing the importance of father involvement;
- developing strategies that include both parents in activities focused on their children, such as training service providers and educators to include both parents in their service delivery;
- working with private employers and the education community to provide education and job training opportunities to unemployed, underemployed, and low-skilled fathers; and
- paternity establishment and child support enforcement efforts.
Any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives should:
Source: NGA policy HR-28. Fatherhood Policy 01-NGA6 on Aug 15, 2001
- support programs in states, at the discretion of each Governor, that encourage appropriate involvement of both parents in the life of a child, with priority given to programs that specifically address the issue of fatherhood;
- be coordinated with existing fatherhood programs, as well as with other federal funds that can be used for fatherhood initiatives, such as TANF; and
- not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Page last updated: Jul 19, 2017