A new report released by State Auditor Shad White shows Mississippi taxpayers will see an additional $700 million of current and future spending obligations as a result of fatherlessness.
“Mississippians know that engaged fathers are critical for the well-being of children,” said Auditor White. “The added discipline and income that comes from two committed parents is important for everyone to understand.”
The report is the result of combining expert research with data from Mississippi. This research concluded taxpayers pay a price when fathers abandon their children. For example, the report shows:
-Fatherless children are less likely to obtain a high school degree. Taxpayers will likely lose $560 million due to the fatherless children who dropped out of school during the 2021-2022 school year alone.
-Fatherless boys are more likely to go to prison than boys who have present fathers. Taxpayers in Mississippi likely pay $180 million each year to imprison fatherless male prisoners.
-Fatherless girls are more likely to be teen mothers than girls with fathers involved. Taxpayers likely spent over $50 million on costs like increased foster care as a result of fatherless teen mothers in 2019 alone.
There are ways to make absentee fathers responsible for their families and children. If paternity can be proven, the father of a child can be required to pay child support or face court charges.
Fatherlessness is a cyclical issue faced by families and taxpayers across the country. Other states around the country have taken notice. Earlier this year, for example, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bipartisan legislation meant to address fatherlessness and provide men with parenting resources.
“I have single mothers in my own family, and they worked tirelessly to raise their children. This report doesn’t take away from their herculean efforts,” White said. “But men—and taxpayers—in Mississippi need to see the sad results when dads do not show up for their kids.”
In Mississippi, the Office of the State Auditor identified the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) as a program helping interrupt the cycle of fatherlessness in an August 2020 report.
The program teaches high school students military history and provides structure, discipline, and physical exercise for its enrollees. In Jackson Public Schools, nearly 100% of JROTC students obtain a high school diploma despite a 75% district-wide graduation rate.
The full report can be found at www.osa.ms.gov/documents/Special_Reports/2022-Fatherlessness%20Report.p…