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Studies show father involvement makes a positive difference, here’s how

  • Aniya Faulcon
Mature man listening to son and daughter, enjoying healthy home cooked dinner, fresh food in dishes on dining room table

Mature man listening to son and daughter, enjoying healthy home cooked dinner, fresh food in dishes on dining room table

Airdate: September 30, 2022

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 million children,  live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. That number of children could fill New York City twice or Los Angeles four times.

Research shows that a father’s absence affects children in numerous unfortunate ways, while a father’s presence makes a positive difference in the lives of both children and mothers. Fathers who are involved in their children’s lives learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior, according to

Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch, Academy of Certified Social Workers Fatherist and Chair of the Strong Families Commission and Luisa Olivo-Wolf, Assistant Chief Program Officer for Community Progress Council, joined us on Friday’s Smart Talk to discuss the importance of fatherhood, challenges fathers may face, and resources to help them.

“Dads are very important in the lives of young children and also provide us an opportunity to change the narrative moving forward for families that are living in poverty,” said Olivo-Wolf. “…When we see a father involved with their child’s education and well-being it really has a different story than that of a mother. It’s really important for us to equalize that and to bring emphasis to the fact that father’s are also important in this conversation.”

She also said, in society we lean towards the mother to be the person that’s nurturing, caring, loving, and giving but we need to challenge those paradigms, empower fathers, and give fathers the opportunity to be present for their children in the same way.

Lynch said he believes the role of a father is undervalued in society and many fathers are faced with not being targeted for services, the hesitation to seek services, gender inequality, inability to navigate systems, institutional barriers, being cast as breadwinners and not caretakers, disconnection from their parents, emotional spousal detachment and more.

“Sometime we have these discussions and we’re really talking about for the most part black and brown people, which is not the case, because the only difference between all the men in Pennsylvania are those who have more resources than others,” said Lynch.

Some of the resources that Lynch and Olivo-Wolf mentioned were support groups, advocacy discussions around family policy that’s inclusive of fathers, and the upcoming Community Progress Council and YWCA York Mindful Fathering program. For more information about this program visit


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