It was in 1984 that March 21 was designated as "National Single Parent Day", and a local non-profit organization can help those that this day recognizes.

Janice Moglen (a single mother) wrote an article early in 1984, in hopes of getting the nation to recognize Single Parent's Day, to recognize the efforts of and get respect for those pulling "double duty" as both mother and father.  She then, along with the help of Parents Without Partners, lobbied each state in hopes that her idea would take root.

It blossomed not much later, when Congress passed H.J. Resolution 200, setting today as National Single Parent Day.  President Ronald Reagan made the proclamation, citing (approximate) statistics that prompted Congress to designate March 21 as National Single Parent Day each year:

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Before they are eighteen, about half of our Nation's children will have lived part of their lives with a single parent who strives to fill the role of both mother and father.

Many single parents in America are making valiant efforts on behalf of their children under trying circumstances. Whether it is a deserted spouse forced to work and care for children simultaneously, or a spouse who is not receiving child support that has been awarded by a court, or an unwed mother who has bravely foregone the all-too-available option of abortion, or a widow or widower, single parents deserve our recognition and appreciation for their demonstrated dedication to their young.

At the same time, we should also recognize the vital and ongoing role a large percentage of non-custodial parents play in the nurturing process of their offspring. Their sacrifices, devotion, and concern reflect the bonds of caring for those they have brought into this world.

Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional, and social support they need to take their places as productive and mature citizens. With the active interest and support of friends, relatives, and local communities, they can do even more to raise their children in the best possible environment.

The Congress, by H.J. Res. 200, has designated March 21, 1984, as ``National Single Parent Day'' and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 21, 1984, as National Single Parent Day. I call on the people of the United States to recognize the contributions single parents are making, sometimes under great hardships, to the lives of their children, and I ask that they volunteer their help, privately or through community organizations, to single parents who seek it to meet their aspirations for their children.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:13 a.m., March 22, 1984]

According to statistics (2014), there are about 17.4 million children being raised in a single-parent home, with over 80% being raised by single mothers.

There is a national organization with a chapter here in Acadiana that has resources for single parents.  SPANA (Single Parents Are Not Alone).  Several years ago, SPANA began with the goal of ensuring that single parent families are not alone when faced with the day to day duties of parenting and social wholeness.

According to the SPANA website (citing Census of 2000):

Single Parent homes account for…

  • 63% of youth suicides
  • 90% of homeless/runaway children
  • 85% of children with behavior problems
  • 71% of high school dropouts
  • 85% of youth in prison

The folks at SPANA invite you to contact them for information on support programs for single parents.

(Reagan Library, Single Mother Guide, SPANA)