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Raleigh to host national at-home dad convention in 2015, 2016

Posted June 10, 2014 8:24 p.m. EDT

Members of Triangle Stay at Home Dads pose at a recent gathering at Observation Park at Raleigh Durham International Airport.

As a new report finds that the number of at-home dads has seen big growth in the last couple of years, a group of at-home dads are gearing up to host an annual national convention of at-home dads for two years starting in 2015 in Raleigh.

The 20th and 21st annual At-Home Dad Convention, part of the National At-Home Dad Network, will bring stay-at-home dads to Raleigh from around the country for workshops, networking, a community project and social activities.

James Kline, a co-organizer for Triangle Stay-At-Home Dads, has been active in the national group and is co-chair of its convention committee. The conference will bring a couple of hundred dads here to gather and learn to be better parents, he said.

"It's to keep supporting each other," he tells me.

The convention will meet in October 2015 and 2016. Kline and a group of about five other dads are working on local sponsors and to organize sessions. The convention, which will be held in Denver this year, always ends with a community service project.

"We really want to give back," he said.

A new study from Pew Research this month finds that the number of at-home dads has risen in recent years and totaled up to 2 million in 2012. The study finds that the number of dads who are at home for any reason has nearly doubled since 1989. The highest point was 2.2 million in 2010. In 2012, they accounted for about 16 percent of all at-home parents.

"High unemployment rates around the time of the Great Recession contributed to the recent increases, but the biggest contributor to long-term growth in these 'stay-at-home fathers' is the rising number of fathers who are at home primarily to care for their family," researchers wrote.

Indeed, said Kline, as the national network moves toward its 20th year, stay-at-home fatherhood here to stay.

"Our theme is coming of age," he said.

I'll have more about Kline, whose essay is featured in a new book about fatherhood called "Dads Behaving Dadly," next week.