DURHAM — Doting dads take center stage this weekend in Durham whereNorth Carolina Central Universityis hosting a statewide conference on fatherhood.
The state wants to help fathers become the best they can be because, they say, when dads are not around the entire family can suffer.
Melvin Williams knows being a good father is hard work. "It keeps us busy, very busy," he says. But he is up for the challenge of raising three-year-old daughter Molly. He was raised by his dad and knows the benefits of having an involved father.
"There are just certain things that you learn from mothers and certain things you learn from fathers," Williams says.
The state has organized the conference knowing dads do make a difference. According to theNorth Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:
One-third of children in North Carolina do not live with their fathers.
Half of those children are twice as likely to have problems with discipline, teen pregnancy, drugs, and crime. They are also more likely to drop out of school."We are not saying if a father is not in a household that it's guaranteed that they're going to be a problem," said Marcus Jones, a conference participant. "But we're saying that it increases the risk."
Conference participants hope to encourage companies to adopt more family-friendly policies so that fathers can spend more time with their children.
They also want state agencies to focus more programs on fathers. And they want to persuade lawmakers to adopt more legislation that protects the bond between father and child, instead of creating barriers between the two.
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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
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