The Department of Heath and Human Services has launched a public-awareness campaign to encourage fathers to stay involved in their children's lives, even if they don't live with them.
The agency's Administration on Children and Families developed the public-service announcements in partnership with the states of Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio, the Advertising Council, and Ogilvy and Mather, an advertising agency. The ads feature the slogan: "They're your kids. Be their dad." They will be sent to more than 1,800 television stations, 8,000 radio stations, and 15,000 print publications.
According to HHS, nearly 17 million children in the United States do not live with their fathers. Studies show children who live without fathers are more likely to drop out of high school, end up in jail, and need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
"While many noncustodial fathers eagerly support their children, too many choose not to be a part of their child's life financially or emotionally," HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala said in a statement. "Without the involvement of both parents, too many children don't get the chance they need and deserve to reach their full potential."
One hot hot line
A computer glitch in the Department of Education's Pell Grant office has led callers to the Pleasure Club sex line instead of an information hot line on the federal college aid.
A March 4 letter, sent to all higher education institutions, instructed schools to call (800) 4PGRANT (or 474-6278) for more information on provisions of the program. Instead, the number in parentheses introduces callers to the Pleasure Club, which a sultry female voice describes as the "hottest uncensored live line in the country."
The corresponding number should have been (800) 474-7268, but a computer program mistakenly translated it into the Pleasure Club number, the Education Department said. The letters have been reissued, and recipients were sent e-mail warnings about the mistake, said Rodger Murphey, a spokesman for the department.
"We very seldom make those mistakes," Mr. Murphey added.
--Linda Jacobson & Joetta L. Sack
Vol. 18, Issue 30, Page 24