Kelly Clarkson, American Idol alum and mother to two babies, has written and released her song “Piece by Piece” which details her relationship with her father. Kelly co-wrote the song and stated that it has come from a place of acceptance. Her father, Stephen, suspended his relationship with his daughter when she was 6.
Kelly also stated that she didn’t realize the importance of a healthy father/daughter relationship until she had her own daughter and watched her husband lovingly care for her. Kelly now realizes she missed out on something that is a large part of life. However, she has stated that she has not reconnected with her father.
This got us thinking- how many biological fathers on our caseload have anything to do with their children (visits, placement, even letter writing)? We did a quick count. The answer is 43%. Only 43% of the kids we are currently working with have any contact with their biological fathers. Their circumstances are all different- some know who their fathers are and know their fathers aren’t participating in visitation, some fathers are incarcerated and choosing not to correspond with their children, some don’t know or have never met their fathers, and some previously lived with their fathers but are now having no contact with them, some were sexually abused by their fathers who are no longer allowed contact due to bond conditions. These trends are echoed in statistics posted by TheFatherlessGeneration which say, “About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father’s home.”
This is the sad reality of children in the system. The National Fatherhood Initiative states that, “Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds,” and “Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.”