I for one care! I believe the presence of fathers matter, not only to their children, but their families, and communities as well. In that regard, I am committed to formal family formation by men wanting to start families by having children, and the reunification of men who are already fathers but have been estranged from their children and families.
Beginning last winter, I was assisted by several volunteers: lawyers, social workers, law students and an eighth grade teacher, as we struggled against great odds to teach 25-30 eighth graders to operate a youth court. Each Thursday morning, we would enter the classroom as the students waited apprehensively for the lesson plan to begin. We wanted them to participate but often, many were not interested. The children were in an overcrowded classroom due to financial constraints.
During my time at Penn State Harrisburg, I had the opportunity to assist staff members on several research projects while I worked as a research and graduate assistant. I had also written a thesis as part of the Master’s program requirements. After these experiences, I was convinced that analyzing criminological data and researching justice issues was what I was truly passionate about.
In 2008, when Jose was released from his nine-month stay in a Pennsylvania residential placement for his auto theft adjudication and returned to Philadelphia, he had a 1 in 10 chance of graduating from high school, according to the Johns Hopkins study, “Unfulfilled Promise”. Without marketable skills, he was likely to join the ranks of the young unemployed, and his chances of landing in prison as an adult were significantly higher than his chances of landing in a family sustaining career.