Performance Improvement 2007. What Efforts Do Child Welfare Agencies Engage in to Identify, Locate and Involve Nonresident Fathers?



The study: examined the extent to which child welfare agencies involved nonresident fathers of foster children in casework and permanency planning; described the various methods used by local agencies to identify fathers of children in foster care, establish paternity, and locate nonresident fathers; identified challenges to involvement; identified practices and initiatives that may increase father involvement; and explored how child support agencies' information resources may help child welfare agencies to identify and locate nonresident fathers.

Most children in foster care were not living with their fathers at the time they were removed from their homes. Once in foster care, these children may experience even less contact with their nonresident fathers. This study sought to assess typical child welfare practice with respect to nonresident fathers of children in foster care. The study also examined the potential utility of expanding the use of child support enforcement data sources in these efforts. Local agency caseworkers were interviewed by phone about nearly 2,000 children in foster care in four study states (Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Tennessee) to examine front-line practices related to nonresident fathers.

The study documented that nonresident fathers of children in foster care were not often involved in case planning efforts, and nearly half were never contacted by the child welfare agency. By not reaching out to fathers, caseworkers may overlook potential social connections and resources that could help to achieve permanency for the child.

Report Title: What About the Dads? Child Welfare Agencies' Efforts to Identify, Locate and Involve Nonresident Fathers
Agency Sponsor: ASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Radel, Laura, 202-690-5938
Performer: Urban Institute; Washington, DC
PIC ID: 8361

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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