Mayor Bloomberg Discusses Citywide Fatherhood Initiative And New Plan To Help Dads Stay Active In Their Children's Lives In Weekly Radio Address
June 20, 2010
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, June 20, 2010
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Let me begin by wishing all the fathers out there a very happy Father's Day. This is the one day of the year when millions of children and adults in our city pause to recognize and thank the dads who have helped shape their lives. Those of us who are lucky enough to have grown up with a father know how invaluable their support can be.
"Unfortunately, about a third of the children in our city are waking up this morning in a house without a father. Some of those fathers may still be active in their children's lives, but sadly many are not. For the past three months, our City's agencies have been working on new ways to engage these fathers, so they can play a greater role in raising their children. This is very important, because research shows that children with two fully engaged parents have a much better shot at doing well in school, avoiding teen pregnancy, overcoming poverty, and succeeding as adults.
"All told, 13 different City agencies - from the Health Department to the Parks Department - have developed action plans to help fathers connect to their children and fulfill their responsibilities as parents. For example, the City's Department for the Aging will launch an intergenerational mentoring program at our public hospitals to connect fathers-to-be with experienced fathers and grandfathers. Our public housing developments will open their community centers to dads and their kids during special hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. And our Department of Correction will open new visiting centers with books, art materials, and toys so incarcerated fathers can spend quality time with their children in kid-friendly environments.
"Another way we're equipping fathers with the tools they need is by combining higher education and job training programs with parenting classes. The New York City Housing Authority and the City University of New York are teaming up to offer pre-college development workshops and courses for teenage youth and young fathers. CUNY is also developing a part-time program for fathers that includes academic preparation, computer literacy, and parenting and health workshops. And the City's Parks Department will begin teaching the nationally recognized "Responsible Fatherhood" curriculum to all young fathers enrolled in their transitional employment program.
"Overseeing all these efforts will be the City's first-ever Fatherhood Services Coordinator. The Coordinator will rigorously evaluate and advance the City's existing parenting programs, and help our agencies develop more father-friendly policies. The goal of all this work is to make sure that fathers know the important role they play, so they can help us break the cycles that keep too many young people in our City from fulfilling their dreams. It's never too late to be part of a child's life. And while the responsibilities of fatherhood are great, the rewards are greater still. So on this Father's Day, let's recommit ourselves to strengthening the bonds of family and brightening the futures of millions of New York City's children.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."