Monday, March 26, 2007

"Responsible Fatherhood" Initiative Draws Complaint

Legal Momentum and NOW have filed administrative complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to challenge the agency's award of $80 million in grants under the 2006 "Responsible Fatherhood" program authorized by Congress last year. The organizations complain that the agency's decision to award the money only to programs that benefit men violates Title IX.

Many of the benefited programs provide job training and education (and thus covered under Title IX). For example, one recipient in Connecticut, The Fortune Society, received $250,000 a year for a “Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Project” that will serve “primarily African American and Latino fathers” and which “will provide a minimum of 120 criminal justice involved fathers and husbands” services that will include among others “job readiness training,” “financial planning seminars."

Legal Momentum and NOW do not dispute the importance of such job training opportunities in underserved communities, but argue that women's programs should be equally served by the federal grants -- especially considering that women earn less than men and are more likely to be disadvantaged by single parenthood.

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