In no way to disparage the efforts of single-parents and especially single-mothers who are trying their best, the question begs, 'Where are the fathers?' The Massachusetts Family Institute just published a statewide report that shows local children who grow up without a father living in the home are at a decided disadvantage in critical areas like schooling, violence, crime and good healthcare. The report is titled, "Fatherlessness in Massachusetts-the Economic and Social Costs to Our Commonwealth."

The report documents the decline of Massachusetts fatherless families with findings that students from fatherless families are twice as likely to drop out of high school as those from married-couple families. Children without fathers living at home are six times more likely to be involved in violent crimes. Young girls are more than twice as likely to become teen mothers as those from mother-father families. Young men from fatherless families are three times as likely to be incarcerated.

The report blames divorce and the percentage of births to unmarried mothers. And the numbing statistics show in seven of the 10 largest cities in our state, the highest rate of births to unmarried mothers occur in Springfield (71 percent), New Bedford (64 percent), Fall  River (64 percent), Lynn (57 percent), Lowell (57 percent), Brockton (55 percent) and Worcester (53 percent). The risks of fatherless families will continue to burden our children unless this starts to reverse. Many of us have known this for a long time. Families that are split have an impact on the children. This report just documents what many of us already knew.

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