When fathers go away and leave their kids behind, many of those youngsters wind up dropping out of school. And based on just the ones who did so during the most recent academic year, State Auditor Shad White says the cost to Mississippi’s taxpayers is pretty steep– an estimated $560 million. In a new report, White has identified expenses like government assistance for dropouts who can’t get jobs and the cost of housing prison inmates who come from fatherless homes.
And the report says it’s not just boys who are more likely to take the wrong path when they don’t have a father at home. Among girls, there’s a higher rate of teen pregnancies.
White says mothers who are left to raise their children alone do a “Herculean” job. But he says giving fathers a pass for shirking their responsibilities makes it harder to break the cycle. The auditor says one program which encourages fatherless students to stay in school is Junior ROTC. And he’s calling for that program to be expanded and for the state to look for new ways to deal with the effects of fatherlessness.