Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Where Did All the Money Go?
Booting Out Fathers
1997 June 25

Poor (and mostly black) neighborhoods across America have one thing in common: most of the families are fatherless. For decades it has been acknowledged that AFDC had the unintended side effect of causing fathers to desert their families so the mother and children could get benefits. The costs to American society are incalculable.

The single best predictor of violence and criminal activity in adolescent boys and young men is the absence of a father in the home. Boys without fathers have a tough time growing up, and many don't make it. Large numbers turn to the only means they see to make money: crime. Many of them die young or go to prison. They are thus removed as fathers for their own children.

The ghettos now have several generations of males mostly reared without fathers. Most of the few fathers who do live with their children have little experience of being fathered and don't know how to father their own children. How is it that this problem, the cause of which has now been known for so long, has never even been seriously addressed, much less solved?

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