Local News

Hunt Urges Fathers to Claim Paternity

Posted June 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Imagine not knowing who who your father is. For 15,000 babies born in North Carolina every year, that's a reality. Friday, Governor Hunt unveiled a plan to make more father's take responsibility for their kids.

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

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

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

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

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

Nurse Wendy Allen has worked in the nursery at Durham Regional Hospital for seven years. She believes a father-child relationship is crucial to a 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."