The
Fatherhood
Coalition

For Immediate Release

Fathers rights advocates look to ballot initiative to spur Statehouse

Shared parenting policy question to be voted on Nov. 2


BOSTON, August 19 – On Election Day in November voters in 36 legislative districts and one Senate district will have the opportunity to show their support for ensuring that children have access to their fathers following family breakup and divorce.

A non-binding referendum question will ask voters if they believe that absent extraordinary circumstances, both parents have a “fundamental right” to shared and physical custody of their minor children.


Between a quarter to a third of all children in the nation go to sleep without saying “Goodnight” to their dads. This is unacceptable, and for the good of the children as well as the wellbeing of society, we must make a course correction.

Michael O’Neil, Co-Chairman


According to Mark Charalambous, Spokesman for the Fatherhood Coalition, the fathers and supporters of the Coalition believe that the public will overwhelmingly come out in support of the question by voting yes on it, after which they will take the result to their elected representatives to educate them on the importance of fatherhood.

Fatherhood Coalition volunteers joined four other organizations to gather the signatures required to get the question on the ballot. The project was launched by Fathers & Families. Also participating in the signature gathering were the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition, the Children’s Rights Council, and the United Federation of Fathers.

Fatherhood Coalition members were responsible for getting the signatures in eleven districts as well as the 1,200 certified signatures required for the 2nd Hampshire and Hampden Senate district, Charalambous said.

Statehouse has failed to respond to fathers’ concerns

Father’s rights advocates have been trying for years to get father-friendly legislation passed in the Statehouse, but so far to no success, he said.  The primary purpose of the ballot question is to show legislators that shared parenting has wide support in the electorate, and motivate them to take action on the various shared parenting bills that always ends up “languishing in legislative limbo.”

Text of the ballot initiative question


“Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation requiring that in all separation and divorce proceedings involving minor children, the court shall uphold the fundamental rights of both parents to the shared physical and legal custody of their children and the children’s right to maximize their time with each parent, so far as is practical, unless one parent is found unfit or the parents agree otherwise, subject to the requirements of existing child support and abuse prevention laws?”

Sometimes the truth is obvious, Charalambous said.  Unquestionably, children fare better when they have a relationship with both their parents.

But, though contrary to popular belief, the second safest environment for children is in the care and custody of their fathers, he said.  Many social scientists point to the breakdown of the nuclear family, specifically fatherlessness, as the single greatest predictor of child pathologies, including substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, crime, and dropping out of school.

The last few decades have seen a rise in antisocial behavior from youth, said Mike Franco, Co-Chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition and former candidate for state Representative.  This is directly correlated with the enormous rise in the number of children who are raised without their fathers.

Franco's counterpart, Co-Chairman Michael O'Neil said, Between a quarter to a third of all children in the nation go to sleep without saying 'Goodnight' to their dads. This is totally unacceptable, and for the good of the children, as well as the wellbeing of society, we must make a course correction.

We pray that our legislators heed the results of the ballot question in November, adds Charalambous.

The ugly facts of father absence

§         Fatherless homes account for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of homeless/runaway children, 85% of all children with behavioral problems, 71% of high school drop outs, 85% of youths in prison, and well over 50% of teen mothers.

§         Fatherless boys are 63% more likely to run away and 37% more likely to abuse drugs. Fatherless girls are 2 ˝ times as likely to get pregnant and 53% more likely to commit suicide.  Both fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly 4 times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. (March 1999 Health and Human Services report)

§         In 1970, 13% of all children lived with only one parent. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million children in the United States (34% of all U.S. children) now live in homes without their biological father.

§         According to the McNabb study of custody cases from the Worcester County Probate Court, which is demographically representative of the state, fathers had won custody in fewer than two percent of cases, usually only in those where the mother was dead or institutionalized.

Fatherhood Coalition volunteers joined four other organizations to gather the signatures required to get the question on the ballot. The project

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For further information, contact:

 

Mark Charalambous
CPF Spokesman
brontis@thecia.net
(978) 840-0268

Mike Franco
CPF Co-Chairman
mv_franco@juno.com
(413) 295-DADS

Michael O’Neil
CPF Co-Chairman
Mike.oneil@juno.com
(508) 698-2513

 

CPF / The Fatherhood Coalition
617-723-DADS

A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994


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