STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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Do kids need dads? Exploring why family structure matters.

We're rolling out a few programs and events all about how the American family is changing and how that matters for children who grow up in these families.

Next Wednesday, July 24th, we'll be meeting at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti for an Issues and Ale event talking about the role of men in kids lives. (We refer to it in State of Opportunity shorthand as throwing out the question,"Do kids need dads?")

The next day, July 25th at 3:00 EST Dustin Dwyer will have a one-hour special exploring whether or not boys are being supported in growing up into successful men, and if they aren't, what is getting in their way.

And this week, on Thursday at 3:00 EST we're hosting a call-in show.

We'll talk with expert data crunchers like Kurt Metzger from Data Driven Detroit and researchers like Katheryn Edin and Kay Hymowitzabout single parenthood, marriage and masculinity. (Edin and Hymowitz have differing views on the push towards marriage for single parents in particular, so expect a lively discussion.)

There will also be a look into what role neighborhoods have to play in these family dynamics and how service providers and policy makers shape and support families.

It's an opportunity to engage with listeners and readers about where life experiences and all this research either meet or diverge.

So I'm throwing out some questions we'll be asking during the show. We'll take your thoughts in the comments section, on Facebook, or by email at

  • Did the way you grew up impact the way you structured your own family? 
  • Are you in a family now or did you grow up in one you feel has more challenges because of how it is structured? What are the biggest challenges for you? 
  • Do you think policies or programs have a role to play in how families are structured? How do you feel, for example, about the push towards marriage?  

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