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PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Family First and All Pro Dad Celebrate, Challenge Fathers in June; Release Study on State of ...

June 22, 2021 GMT

TAMPA, Fla., June 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This June, national nonprofit Family First, its fatherhood program All Pro Dad and the Florida Department of Education are releasing The Dad Deficit, a study compiled by the Sagamore Institute detailing the negative effects of fatherlessness and the impact it has on school success, individuals and the community.

With the aim to celebrate and challenge father figures around Father’s Day, while generating awareness and catalyzing solutions, the report offers insight into the issue of absent dads through comprehensive research around the vital role they play in their child’s development. Nearly 19.7 million children in America live without an active father or father figure, which is directly correlated with poor academic and social outcomes.


“While COVID-19 has crippled our country like no other disaster in recent history, there is another pandemic that has been growing somewhat silently, yet significantly during the last half a century—fatherlessness,” said Mark Merrill, founder of Family First and All Pro Dad. “It’s infecting our children’s lives. Our research in The Dad Deficit study shows that while those without active father figures have emotional wounds, there is hope. Now more than ever, government and nonprofit programs like All Pro Dad must work to effectively reach fathers in their local communities in order to break the cycle and activate change.”

The exclusive report provides in-depth data around increased incidents of school violence and decreased math and language scores, school attendance and graduation rates. It also offers best practices and preventative strategies that families, teachers, coaches and communities can put into place to reduce the impact of fatherlessness.

“This important study from Family First and All Pro Dad adds to the current research that highlights fatherlessness in America, and how that led to a real crisis facing our children and particularly our boys,” said Chris Sprowls, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. “The sooner we can face these facts and have fathers engaged in the lives of their children, the sooner we can close the gap and help these students reach their full educational potential. It cannot be understated the impact a father has in the home when it comes to emotional, social, and educational development, and this study does a great job illustrating the positive outcomes.”


What began as a conversation between Merrill and Dungy has grown into one of the world’s largest parenting organizations, with more than 1,300 All Pro Dad chapters established across the country. Through interactive events, daily encouragement and monthly chapter meetings, All Pro Dad offers fathers the opportunity to connect with kids by strengthening relationships, inspiring leadership and providing guidance and practical parenting tips.

“In addition to the recommendations outlined in this study, All Pro Dad chapters are providing a solution for this issue in hundreds of elementary and middle schools across the country,” said Merrill. “Through monthly events—whether virtual or in-person—All Pro Dad offers a special opportunity for fathers and father figures to connect with children. Each chapter also builds a support network for dads who are dedicated to investing in their kids, and it’s our hope that this effort continues to grow so we can curb the negative effects of fatherlessness.”

All Pro Dad is committed to encouraging reading among children throughout the state and is releasing this study in partnership with the Florida Department of Education who is also asking Floridians to save the date for Dads Take Your Child To School Day on September 20, 2021. The initiative serves to highlight and support fatherhood engagement in education by helping schools foster this important connection with fathers and father figures.

“I can’t thank All Pro Dad enough for the great work they do to build stronger families,” said Richard Corcoran, Florida Commissioner of Education. “I look forward to continuing to partner with them in this mission and in closing the achievement gap in education.”

To view The Dad Deficit study from Family First and All Pro Dad, visit this link. For more information on the impact of the All Pro Dad Chapter program, including how to get started, visit allprodadchapters.com. For a list of resources and more information about Dads Take Your Child To School Day, visit fldoe.org.

All Pro Dad is the fatherhood program of Family First, a national nonprofit organization based in Tampa that reaches thousands of parents each day through its two primary programs: All Pro Dad and iMOM.

All Pro Dad was founded by Mark Merrill and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. Serving families and fathers for more than 20 years, All Pro Dad provides resources, training and events to help fathers as they raise their children for a healthy and hopeful future.

Founded in 2004 by Dan Coats and Jay Hein, Sagamore Institute builds and implements solutions to society’s biggest problems. Through research, consulting, and impact investing, Sagamore fights for a society uplifted by heartland policy innovation, business solutions, and citizen engagement. Visit sagamoreinstitute.org to learn more.

Serving approximately 2.8 million students, 4,200 public schools, 28 colleges, 202,000 instructional staff, 46,000 college professors and administrators, and 338,000 full-time staff throughout the state, the department enhances the economic self-sufficiency of Floridians through programs and services geared toward college, workforce education, apprenticeships, job-specific skills and career development. We administer a statewide reading initiative for Florida’s public schools, and among community groups and volunteer organizations that support them, with a goal of having every child able to read at or above grade level. The department manages programs that assist individuals who are blind, visually-impaired, or disabled succeed either in school settings or careers - encouraging independence and self-sufficiency.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/cc9be860-9ee8-4358-b1b5-3a4006962b5e

For more information, contact: Natalie Matthews 662.801.1413 natalie@seesparkgo.com