MARIETTA, Ohio (WTVN) -- An Ohio congressman has launched a new initiative called Raising Fathers. He's asking Americans to honor their own father, or fathers they know, by posting a short video tribute on YouTube.

"You can talk about your own father, your husband's role as a father, or just a father you know who deserves recognition," Congressman Bill Johnson said. 

The Republican who represents eastern and southeastern Ohio hopes this starts a national conversation about how important fathers are. He also wants to help young men realize how big of a responsibility it is.

"My father was infrequently home and frequently drunk," Johnson said.  "It's too common a story that I've tried to be reverse with my own children, and now it's time to bring more public attention to the issue."

The problem of absentee fathers transcends all socio-economic, racial, and religious demographics. Today, one out of three children is from a single parent home.  Fifty years ago that number was one out of ten.

Johnson says this is a societal issue that also has an impact on public policy.

"This is a problem for governments at all level, with the ripple effect resulting in more taxpayer-funded prison cells, treatment centers and probation officers just to name a few," Johnson said. 

Johnson is asking Americans to post a short video on YouTube with the term "Raising Fathers" in the description and he will include the best of those videos on the project's website.  

The project involves no taxpayer funds or donated money and is currently only being funded as a personal project by Johnson. 

"This is something that has been weighing on my heart for many years and it's time for me to speak out. This won't involve moving legislation or passing laws, but rather moving people and passing the word."


(Photo courtesy Getty Images)