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Texas group Fatherhood Matters offering free paternity testing

No one questions the importance of caring, supportive parents in a child's life. Too many children, however, don't have a father in their lives because their biological father doesn't even know he has a child. A San Antonio organization called Fatherhood Matter Inc. is hoping to help change that.

The non-profit organization has teamed with Identigene Laboratories to provide free paternity tests. Identigene is one of the leading providers of DNA paternity testing. It has made these tests available to the general public via retail stores. An Identigene executive said, "If our partnership with Fatherhood Matters helps bring just one family together, it will have been worthwhile."

These tests will be provided in San Antonio on May 24 at a Boys and Girls Club. The testing is part of the group's annual campaign called I Am A Father.

The executive director of Fatherhood Matters notes that studies have shown that the absence of a father in a child's life has been linked to larger societal issues like poverty, teen pregnancy and incarceration. He says that men who are aware of their paternity are more likely to take an active role in their children's upbringing. He says, "If a man knows a child is his, he's more likely to provide financial and emotional support and to become invested in that child's future."

Establishing paternity is just the first step, but an important one, for a man who wants to have a relationship with his child when he is not married to the mother. Once paternity has been established, he can work to have a legally-codified relationship with the child, with the rights and also the responsibilities that this entails. For that child, it means that he or she can have both the financial and emotional support of both parents.

Source: San Antonio Business Journal, "Nonprofit says paternity testing promotes fatherhood" Mike W. Thomas, Apr. 23, 2014

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