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The Indiana Department of Child Services, Child Support Bureau, would like to welcome you to the Indiana Fathers & Families website.
For Child Support and/or Child Custody questions, please review the DCS Child Support Web Site.
Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Federal Resource Site
Indiana Judicial System
Empowering New Partnerships in Your Community - Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the Workforce System
Children's Rights Council of Indiana
Indiana Engaging Fathers Initiative
In Indiana, a single mother leads 19% of households with children. In some counties, like LaGrange and Hamilton, this rate is 10% or less; in other counties, like Marion and Lake, the rate can be as high as 28%. At least one in four families with children in the two most populous Indiana counties do not have a father in the home.i Why does this matter? Because these children are at an increased risk of poverty, substance abuse, emotional problems, academic challenges, criminal activity and early sexual activity.ii
Although there has been less research conducted on the effects of fathers' involvement, the initial findings support the assertion that supporting the father's role in his child's life can minimize these risks for children in single-parent homes.
Other research has found that children benefit cognitively from having two involved parents rather than only one, and that children's sex-role development is enhanced by the presence of the same-sex parent.
Traditionally, social services have focused primarily on mothers and children. However, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) takes an active role in providing community-based organizations with the resources they need to assist fathers in becoming more engaged in their children's lives. Since 1997, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funding has been provided for these services through their Indiana Restoring Fatherhood Initiative and Access and Visitation grants. In 2000, the Indiana Fathers & Families initiative was launched to combine these grant programs to maximize available resources. Funding is now solely provided by Access and Visitation grants.
Indiana Fathers & Families supports community-based programs that address one or more of the following primary goals:
Increase fathers' involvement with their children
Improve fathers' parenting skills
Improve co-parenting relationships
Increase paternity establishment
Increase child support collections
Decrease out-of-wedlock pregnancies
The goal of this website is to support local organizations in identifying resources to support fathers' emotional and financial involvement in their children's lives.
iErickson, J.B., and M.M. Hightower King (2001). Kids Count in Indiana 2001 Data Book: County Profiles of Child Well-being. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Youth Institute.
iiResearch summaries found on page one were taken from the web site of the National Center on Fathering (http://www.fathers.com/).
iiiNational Center for Education Statistics (1997). Fathers' Involvement in their Children's Schools. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
ivKoestner, R., C. Franz and J. Weinberger (1990). "The Family Origins of Empathic Concern: A Twenty-Six Year Longitudinal Study." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58: 709-717.