Frank O'Bannon on Families & Children
Former Democratic IN Governor
Encourage fathers' participation in child-raising.
O'Bannon adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueGrowing evidence suggests that children from families in which fathers do not contribute their time and support endure a number of risk factors. Children with absent fathers are more likely to drop out of school, become teenage parents, develop drug or alcohol problems, or become involved in violent criminal behavior. Congress and the administration have recently proposed a number of federal programs to support state and local fatherhood initiatives.
NGA’s Position Governors believe that government at all levels can and should take immediate action to help reduce the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage active participation by fathers of all ages in raising their children. Governors have played a leadership role at both the national and state level in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to strengthen the role of fathers in their childrens’ lives. While many Governors are using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other federal program funds to support state-specific fatherhood initiatives, additional investment in fatherhood would broaden the population of fathers that can be served. Governors believe that there should be support of and coordination between existing programs and any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives and that these new initiatives should not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA12 on Sep 7, 2001
Federal funds & state involvement in fatherhood initiatives.
O'Bannon adopted the National Governors Association policy:
The nation’s Governors recognize that governments at all levels can and should take immediate action including:
- providing additional education and information about the importance of fathers participating in raising their children;
- establishing a nongovernmental national clearinghouse to collect and disseminate information regarding responsible fatherhood;
- expanding efforts to prevent unintended and out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies;
- providing children with appropriate adult male role models, such as mentors, in the absence of a caring father;
- ensuring that young men are given opportunities to feel successful and valued, which will lead to the development of self-confidence and preparation for fatherhood;
- encouraging the involvement of the community, including the religious community, civic community, business community, and mentors in addressing the importance of father involvement;
- developing strategies that include both parents in activities focused on their children, such as training service providers and educators to include both parents in their service delivery;
- working with private employers and the education community to provide education and job training opportunities to unemployed, underemployed, and low-skilled fathers; and
- paternity establishment and child support enforcement efforts.
Any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives should:
Source: NGA policy HR-28. Fatherhood Policy 01-NGA6 on Aug 15, 2001
- support programs in states, at the discretion of each Governor, that encourage appropriate involvement of both parents in the life of a child, with priority given to programs that specifically address the issue of fatherhood;
- be coordinated with existing fatherhood programs, as well as with other federal funds that can be used for fatherhood initiatives, such as TANF; and
- not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Maintain federal welfare funding for child support.
O'Bannon wrote a letter to House leaders from 2 Governors:
On behalf of the nation’s Governors, we are writing to express our opposition to cuts in the child support program as included in the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. Notwithstanding the merit of the Independent Living program, we cannot support paying for the expansion of one human services program at the expense of the child support system.
However, we are greatly concerned that H.R. 1802 will have a detrimental impact on the stability of states’ child support financing structures. Child support provides a crucial income support for many families, a large number of whom are low-income and transitioning off of welfare. With the dramatic drop in welfare caseloads, a greater share of families now served by the child support system are those not connected to the welfare system. While the drop in caseloads translates to success in welfare, it creates financial instability for many states’ child support financing structures.
H.R. 1802 will repeal the “hold harmless” provision that was enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law to ensure that states did not experience a significant loss in child support funds as a result of a change in child support distribution rules. Governors view the proposed repeal of the “hold harmless” provision as another example of the gradual unraveling of the historic 1996 welfare reform agreement reached among Governors, Congress, and the administration. The repeal of the “hold harmless” provision in H.R. 1802 will only add to the instability of state child support enforcement systems.
The repeal of the “hold harmless” provision will cut federal funding to states’ child support programs by at least $320 million over five years and will result in some states facing great difficulties in achieving the ultimate goal of the child support system - to get more money in the hands of families.
Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA28 on Jun 24, 1999
Keep TANF program focused on family welfare, not other tasks.
O'Bannon adopted a letter to House leaders from 4 Governors:
The nation’s Governors have serious concerns with recent proposals to expand the use of TANF funds beyond the original intent of the statute. The TANF block grant was at the heart of the 1996 welfare reform agreement and we strongly oppose attempts to use welfare-related funds to pay for other federal programs.
Specifically, the House budget resolution anticipates that states will be given additional flexibility to use unspent TANF funds for educational purposes, such as school construction and hiring teachers. Notwithstanding the merit of these initiatives, designating welfare funds for such programs is clearly beyond the original purposes of TANF. We caution you that an expansion of flexibility outside the scope of TANF sets a dangerous precedent of violating the original purposes established as part of welfare reform agreement, [which states] that the purpose of TANF is to:
We have experienced tremendous success in transforming the welfare system from one of dependency to one of self-sufficiency. However, there is more work to be done. Opening up the TANF block grant to fund other priorities sets a dangerous precedent and is simply unacceptable. The nation’s Governors urge you to protect the integrity of the TANF block grant as it was established in 1996.
Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA32 on Mar 24, 1999
- provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives;
- end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage;
- prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and
- encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.
Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011