Incarceration and the Family: A Review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families. 6.1.1 Co-Residence


Structural issues such as housing, child support, and child welfare may place limits on fathers’ abilities to reestablish their relationships with their children. One of the major changes to father-child relationships is co-residence: In one study of 32 fathers on parole, about half of the fathers reported having lived with at least one of their minor children prior to incarceration, but less than 20% reported living with their children after release (Bahr, Armstrong, Gibbs, Harris, & Fisher, 2005). In another study of 294 men in Cleveland, Ohio, 57% of men who were fathers of minor children lived with at least one of their children before incarceration, while only 35% lived with any of their children 1 year after reentry (Visher & Courtney, 2007). A lack of co-residence may be related to (1) the quality of the relationship that the father has with the children’s primary caregiver (usually the mother); (2) rules forbidding former convicts to live in public or subsidized housing or in homes approved for relative foster care (Hairston, 2001; Festen, Waul, Solomon, & Travis, 2002; Jeffries, Menghraj, & Hairston, 2001); and (3) the possibility that other family members in the home are involved in substance use or criminal activity (Naser & Farrell, 2004; Visher & Travis, 2003), thereby endangering the father’s ability to comply with parole requirements.

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