Christine Stuart photo
Sen. Gary LeBeau of East Hartford (Christine Stuart photo)

For the past two years, Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, has been trying to get bill through the legislature that would create a task force to study the impact of children growing up without fathers. The bill passed the state Senate, but never came up for a vote in the House.

Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, said Thursday that he formed a 12-member task force to look at the issue without legislation or funding to support it. He said the task force will give the legislature a clear picture of how to address this “serious problem.”

Rep. Bruce Morris, D-Norwalk, said the task force will be looking at if there are state policies contributing to the problem of fatherlessness and, if are there policies the legislature can implement to solve this problem.

“Virtually every social problem that we face is exacerbated, if not caused, by this epidemic of fatherlessness,” LeBeau said.

Rep. Faith McMahon, D-Windsor, said over 70 percent of all males incarcerated in Connecticut did not have a relationship with their father. Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford, said there’s also a statistic that says children with fathers in prison have a 70 percent greater chance of committing a crime themselves.

The task force will meet between now and December to solicit comments and information from the public, experts, agencies, and others on the causes of a fathers absence.

Rep. Ken Green, D-Hartford, said the task force will even look to see if the financial burden of the state’s attempt to collect child support from fathers is limiting the involvement of the father in a child’s life.