Majority of children in Richmond born to fatherless homes

RICHMOND, Va – According the Virginia Department of Health, more than 60 percent of children in Richmond are born into a home where their father is not around.

Health officials say this kind of family fragmentation, especially in low income areas in Richmond, ties directly to key social issues that ail the city; like poverty, high school drop out rates, and violence.

Fatherly involvement in a child’s life is one way to curb these trends, experts said.

The Torque Club at RIR was buzzing with robots, computer systems, and even chess pieces Saturday afternoon.  The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) held an event aimed at engaging fathers from low-income areas and their children in “positive, relationship building” through science, math and technology.

CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns and photojournalist Tyler Conta attended the event.  Watch their report above.

Several dozen children and their fathers participated in robotics and computer games, an up close and personal look at race cars, and even remarks from chess legend Eugene Brown, whose work as a chess instructor was chronicled in the movie “Life of a King” starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

Many of the fathers that attended Saturday publicly hoped more men in Richmond would get involved in their children’s life.

“It give kids more of a foundation, so they can understand some of the crazy stuff that’s going on,” said Lawrence Jiggetts, who came with both his daughter and granddaughter.

“We all are going through challenges in life. So as brothers in love, we come to the table to talk about our challenges and what we can do as far as support,” said Calvin Johnson, a Hillside Court resident who runs a men’s group aimed at sparking conversation among fathers in his neighborhood.