jeffery_m_johnson_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — In South Florida this week bringing attention to the importance of fathers is the 14th Annual International Fatherhood Conference, which began June 12 and continues through June 15 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale.

Sponsored by the Washington, DC-based National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL), and featuring this year’s theme,

Expanding Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Family Program Connections, the conference provides an annual forum for key stakeholders from around the country and locally to discuss and share strategies for strengthening families by increasing the productive involvement of fathers in the lives of children. Visit for more information.

Presenters during the NPCL conference include the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida, which will host a free Fathers & Families event on Saturday, June 16, a day before Father’s Day, from noon-5 p.m. on the University of Miami’s main campus in Coral Gables.

Activities there will include fathers’ demonstrations of skills and hobbies, games, sports, arts, prizes, food, literacy activities/author readings, health, education and nutrition tips, resources for fathers and a Fathers for Children’s Award ceremony. For more information call 305-812-4000 or visit

“Fathers are the forgotten contributors to child development,” said Jeffery M. Johnson, NPCL president. “Fathers and mothers have complementary characteristics that work together to impact their children in amazing ways.”

Johnson noted that children who have involved fathers are substantially less likely to be sexually involved at an early age, have children out of wedlock or be involved in criminal or violent behavior; are much more likely to stay in school, do well there and go to college; and show greater moral sensitivity and self-control.

“On the other side of the spectrum, father absence in the lives of children can contribute too many negative effects and risks for children,” Johnson said, adding that: “Economic, cultural, and policy changes have devalued fatherhood in the United States which has had a dramatic effect on the African-American community.”

Speakers and workshops at the 14th Annual International Fatherhood Conference are addressing the concerns and providing innovative solutions. The president and Congress, Johnson said, have made fatherhood a public policy priority through legislation that provides financing to community based agencies for designing and implementing programs to increase the level of positive father engagement in the lives of children.

Included are programs that target unmarried and married fathers, and those who have been incarcerated or are re-entering communities and families after incarceration.

National Partnership for Community Leadership

Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida

Photo: Jeffery M. Johnson