*As part of Father’s Day, President Obama will today host a White House gathering of children, famous dads and nonprofit groups that promote fatherhood to highlight the importance of fathers.
The highlight of Monday’s day-long celebration will be a speech at the ARC, an arts and recreation campus in Southeast Washington, where he is set to announce the creation of the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, reports the Washington Post. It will build on a theme that has been central to his family policy and a core part of the White House’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The new initiative, which is enlisting a network of organizations, will expand on a six-city listening tour the administration held last year to bring attention to the issue of absent fathers.
“The tour was a national conversation on responsible fatherhood that was rooted in the president’s personal experiences growing up and his realization that father absence is a real challenge facing many communities,” said Joshua DuBois, director of the partnerships office.
Last year, more than 24 million children did not live with their biological fathers, census figures show. Among low-income children, the figure is two out of three.
Obama will also ask Congress to move on his $500 million budget request for a Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund, which would give grants to nonprofits that support fathers and families, including job training programs and economic incentives for dads.
On Sunday, Obama made what appears to be the first presidential Father’s Day statement that mentions “two fathers.”
“Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a stepfather, a grandfather, or caring guardian,” he said.