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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 15, 1998

Washington, DC -- With Father's Day on the horizon, Vice President Gore announced the results of a new study on fatherhood that highlights the critical role that fathers play in their children's lives.

"As the father of four children, I know first hand how important it is for fathers to help their children learn and grow," Vice President Gore said at the Second National Summit on Fatherhood. "Being a father is the most important job I've had. That's why President Clinton and I called for this study to ensure major improvements in the collection of information and research related to fatherhood."

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics launched a year-long investigation of fatherhood. The resulting report, Nurturing Fatherhood: Improving Data and Research on Male Fertility, Family Formation and Fatherhood, recommends several steps the federal government could take to increase understanding of male fertility, family formation, and fathering, and their effects on child and adult well-being, including:

Add fatherhood questions to major federally-supported national surveys. These questions could lead to new information on father-child interactions by asking whether fathers live with or have contact with their children; expand our understanding of how fathers affect child development and school readiness; offer insights into men's decisions on fertility and family formation; and increase our knowledge of how sexual activity, fertility, marriage, and parenthood affect men's educational attainment and labor force participation.

Add men as respondents in key national surveys, especially low-income men and men in the military and in prison. Women have generally responded in large national surveys of family life, leaving gaps in our knowledge of men's views and contributions. Including men in surveys will require special efforts to reach men who are only tenuously attached to households (such as young, low-income fathers who do not live with the mothers of their children), as well as men in the military and in prison, who have traditionally not been included in national household surveys.

Conduct basic research on the meaning and nature of fathering for low-income men and their children.

Release data on fatherhood regularly, beginning in 1999.

The Vice President also presented a Hammer Award to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which consists of federal agencies, leading researchers, and major foundations. The award recognizes the accomplishments of teams of federal employees and others to reinvent government.

Copies of Nurturing Fatherhood are available from Child Trends at (202) 362-5580. The executive summary is available on the worldwide web at <>, and the full report is available at <>.