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Hunt Urges Fathers to Claim Paternity

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Governor Hunt with newborn at Durham Regional
RALEIGH — Imagine not knowing who who your father is. For 15,000 babies born inNorth Carolina every year, that's a reality. Friday, Governor Huntunveiled a plan to make more father's take responsibility for their kids.

We hear a lot about tracking down deadbeat parents and making them paychild support. But if you don't know who the father is, the processis much more difficult. That's why the Governor is urging unmarriedcouples to establish paternity when a child is born.

Governor Hunt believes paternity starts in the hospital. He wants toencourage fathers to legally claim their children at birth. This will enable the newborns to enjoy the benefit of help, love, and compassionfrom both parents.

Thirty-thousand children are born out of wedlock in North Carolina everyyear. One half of those don't know their father.

Curtis Bembry is not married and wanted things to be different with hisdaughter Hadiya, so he called the state and established paternity. Now hetakes pride in bathing her, feeding her, and putting her to sleep.

Bembry's father and mother have always been there for him. Now hewants to be there for his children. Now is the time to do it.

Nurse Wendy Allen has worked in the nursery at Durham Regional Hospitalfor seven years. She believes a father-child relationship is crucial toa child's well being.

"Bonding begins initially after the baby is born," Allen says. "So therefore, the baby needs to know who the mother and the father are."

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