Single Fathers Versus Single Mothers

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Single Fathers

The Single Fathers versus Single Mothers
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The Single Fathers versus Single Mothers
The plight of single mothers has been all too familiar in the recent years. Social services have been tailored made to cater to their needs. It is with them that our society sympathizes. Then again, we seem to have forgotten that while there is a single mother, there is the single father who suffers just the same. He is that other part of the whole. He also has his own rights, needs and story that deserves to get noticed and paid attention to. Indeed, he too matters and that is for sure. The number of single fathers in the United States registered to about 2.5 million by the year 2007. Of the 2.5 million, 40 % of them are divorced, 4% are widowed and the remaining 16 % are separated. Eight percent of the population rears three or more children below 18 years of age. About 14 % of this population has been not been living in their own homes. The annual income of 27 % of these families amounts to about $ 50,000 or more (Information Please Database, 2007). This has been a big population boost as way back in 1970, single mothers account to about 90 % of the single family population while single fathers only numbers to 400,000 (Gillenkirk, 2000). The American family is a lot different now. More and more fathers left to rear their children after a break up are starting to out number the single mother population, almost twice as much. More than 2 million, which is about one - fifth of the population of single parents today, are single fathers. Even though the media's portrayal of single parents still focuses primarily on single moms, working single fathers now register to about 30 % of the single parents population (Gillenkirk, 2000).

For most social workers, particularly the ones involved in the welfare department and civil service find it hard to fit in quality time in their schedules. Most of their time is consumed by long working hours. They could not avail of night shifts to take time off from work. As a result, they seldom spend worthwhile moments with their kids (Jaff, 1983). In the social work practice, fathers are branded as the “hard to reach clients.” Most lower – class single fathers are labeled this way. Their working habits or their seeming lack of interest may be to blame. These seem to augment the bad reputation of fathers as unhelpful and impassive and almost always pass the burden of responsibility to their wives. As if to add insult to injury, home visits are scheduled during the daytime and most of them are designed primarily for the mother and children, the father, in most cases is overlooked. Arranging schedules favorable to the father barely happen. If only social work practices will include single fathers in their client's list, they are most likely to respond (Jaff, 1983). Stereotyping among fathers themselves still abound the paternal role in the world of social services. In some cases, their roles are dictated by social workers. The lack of efforts to include single fathers in social work practices are taken as a non – involvement. While there is no denying of the incidents wherein fathers are out of reach, it must be noted how ever that most of this cases happen in social work programs primarily catered to single mothers. Even though equal importance are considered and expected, single fathers are seldom if not never the major clients as far as social work practices are concerned, by default or design (Jaff, 1983). The seeming exclusion of fathers in the social work practice was founded on either conceptual or organizational reasons. The irony is that most children in placement came from families with unhealthy father – child relationships. Sadly, making up for such loss never happens. While the importance of...
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