Fathers are parents, too; however, fathers parent differently from mothers and may lack good parenting skills due to the absence of fathers in their own lives. They may have sketchy information about being a father and a parent. Curriculums delivered in fatherhood programs stress the importance of co-parenting with mothers and fathers working together for the highest benefit of their children. Through the programs fathers are affirmed and their parenting abilities expand. Counselors also address parenting challenges more commonly faced by low-income, unwed fathers than by their married, upper-income counterparts, such as parenting children with disabilities.
Fathers are an important resource to families and to our state. In the tragic event that a child is removed from the home of the custodial parent because of abuse or neglect, non-custodial fathers have historically been excluded from the process. More than 64% of cases involve neglect; yet Child Welfare workers routinely overlook fathers when seeking an alternative placement to help rescue the children and provide a safe, nurturing environment. The Center has actively worked with South Carolina Department of Social Services to ensure that fathers are involved when their children veer into harm's way. Fatherhood programs are a much-needed resource to help support fathers and the state's child protective systems.
A non-custodial father typically has minimal legal rights regarding decisions and the well-being of his child, especially when not actively engaged in the child's life or the existence of a strained relationship with the child's mother. He probably knows little about what is happening with his child. The new Responsible Fatherhood Registry provides a means for fathers to protect their rights to any children that they may have fathered. Additionally, it streamlines the termination of parental rights and adoption process by not requiring notification to men who have not taken steps to assert their interest in a child's life.