As state officials, educators and community leaders, we can help illuminate for our young men and women the many real parental responsibilities that extend beyond clothing, food, and shelter. Supporting children takes more than just money. As we all know, mothers and fathers play an important role in children's social, psychological, and moral development. But the realities of the long-term, legal and financial obligations associated with being a biological parent are equally important to understand.
In 1995, the State Department of Human Services (DHS) sponsored its first Annual Teen Media Contest focusing on parental responsibility. It was created out of concern for the significant number of teen births in New Jersey, and the non-participation by fathers in the lives of these infants. Today, the Office of Child Support Services at DHS continues to educate young people on the responsibilities of parenthood through this statewide contest, which is now open to all New Jersey middle school and high school students.