Training program for non-residential fathers

Someone intends to set up a training program for non-residential fathers. He asked for sponsorship, funding and potential funding, and for a donor, but he did not ask for money.

James (not his real name) wrote:

I just stumbled upon your website and I was wondering if your organization sponsored programs for fathers. I am currently taking a class at [an American University] entitled Teaching Family Life Education. We have to design a parenting class and find a funder for our program. I was wondering if our program was one you would fund?

We are doing a Parenting Class for non-residential fathers on topics such as routine, social, educational and recreational ways a father can become more involved in their children’s lives. The program is 4 hours long and we are thinking a smaller group of fathers to ensure they feel comfortable to brainstorm and share their ideas. This program would be a one-time thing unless it was successful and people requested it to be held again.

One of my jobs is to find a potential funder for our project. I am not asking for money, nor will I ever ask for any money for this program. I am just trying to find a donor for our program. This is a program that we would be available for anyone to adapt and teach

Please let me know your thoughts so I can see if I’m on the right track.

Thank You,


Dear James,

Thanks for asking, but we cannot fund programs like the one you have in mind. We cannot fund any programs, as there is for us in essence absolutely no source of funding from any outside sources. Our small retirement incomes are the sole source of the funding that enables us to run Fathers for Life. That leaves no discretionary income of any sort to permit funding of anything else at all.

You request was for sponsorship, funding and potential funding, and for a donor. All those terms are quite logically and firmly connected with providing money for causes. Sometimes such terms relate to the providing of material goods other than money, but they may then also and still create legally binding obligations and responsibilities.

You explicitly stated in your request that you are not asking for money, and that you will never be asking for money for the program. Please be more specific about what you mean by using the terms funding, donating and sponsoring.

Let me now ask a couple of questions in return. Why do you feel it is necessary to teach non-residential fathers about the circumstances of their fatherhood (which is largely and predominantly fatherhood in absentia)? Why do you feel that fathers do, and that mothers do not, need the sort of training that you envision?

You appear to work in the context of a few misunderstandings in regard to fathers. Given that mothers – especially single mothers – are a much greater danger than fathers are to children in families, your training program targets the wrong audience. You should investigate sources of information that seem to have been deliberately excluded from the study material for your class, such as:

  1. Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths : The Surprising Truth About Fathers, Children, and Divorce, by Sanford Braver, Ph.D. (Hardcover – 288 pages (October 1998) J P Tarcher; ISBN: 087477862X ) Review
  2. Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family, by Rebecca O’Neill; Sept. 2002, CIVITAS

It’s Official: The Experiment Has Failed

For the best part of thirty years we have been conducting a vast experiment with the family, and now the results are in : the decline of the two-parent, married-couple family has resulted in poverty, ill-health, educational failure, unhappiness, anti-social behaviour, isolation and social exclusion for thousands of women, men and children. — Rebecca O’Neill

There is a large body of evidence in support of the good that the presence of fathers in the lives of their children will have on the outcomes for those children. However, the inferior outcomes in children who suffer from fatherlessness are rarely caused by the willful absence of the children’s fathers. Father absence is instead in the vast majority of cases caused by single mothers acting as gate keepers who, with the active support of our legislators, social services agencies and family courts, do their utmost best to keep fathers out and away from their children’s lives.

How would the training program you envision overcome that very great obstacle for non-residential fathers? Sanford Braver’s book contains a set of recommendations to governments that would greatly help in overcoming the aim of keeping fathers at bay. Moreover, Sanford Braver identifies, along with irrefutable facts, that non-residential fathers, if given a chance to have frequent and liberal access to their children, will voluntarily provide all of the participation in their children’s upbringing that your training program appears to envision but is hardly able or suitable to bring about.

It seems to me that, as far as improving the outcomes in children of non-residential fathers goes, you would achieve far better results if you were to design a training program for mothers that endeavors to have single mothers tear down rather than erect and maintain barriers to the presence of their children’s fathers.


Walter Schneider


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