Prepared under contract to ASPE, with funding from ACF
Freya Sonenstein, Karin Malm, and Amy Billing
The Urban Institute
Fathers’ Involvement in Permanency Planning and Child Welfare Casework: Literature Review
This review summarizes existing literature and knowledge about non-custodial fathers and their relations with children involved in the child welfare system. It sets the stage for a three-year study being conducted by the Urban Institute and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) to provide the Federal Government with a description of the extent to which child welfare agencies identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers in case decision making and permanency planning. Non-custodial fathers are biological fathers who do not reside with their children usually because of divorce, separation or a non-marital birth. Increased interest in fathers and acknowledgement of their contributions to family stability and children’s healthy development have focused attention in the child welfare field on the tasks of locating biological fathers and involving them in case planning.
To complete this review we conducted an exhaustive search of literature and materials about fathers and child welfare services. Although we focused our search on research and literature specific to fathers and the child welfare system, more general topics related to fatherhood, non-custodial fathers, paternity establishment, and child support were also reviewed. Preliminary work included use of Internet and literature search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Lexis Nexis, PsycINFO, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Sociological Abstracts, to identify scholarly research studies and publications related to our topics of interest. Bibliographies of published and unpublished documents were reviewed to identify additional resources. We searched a wide variety of government, higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and foundation web sites1 in order to identify a variety of resources including funded programs and research and evaluation reports of fatherhood programs. Throughout the literature review, we held numerous discussions with experts2 in the fields of child welfare and fatherhood issues, and we identified additional sources of information to pursue. All resource materials reviewed are presented in an annotated bibliography included as Appendix A.
In addition, this review includes preliminary results from an Urban Institute study on relative caregiving funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.3 The study is designed to provide information on how child welfare agencies identify and recruit relatives to care for children needing out-of-home placement, how workers make decisions about placing children with their relatives, and the service needs of relative caregivers. Focus groups of workers and supervisors included discussions of diligent search efforts for fathers and how paternity establishment affects the use of paternal relatives as placement resources.
The review is organized around a number of pressing questions that policy makers interested in child welfare services would like answered. For each of the following questions we summarize current knowledge and identify information gaps.
- What are the recent trends in children’s family living arrangements and what has been the policy response to these trends?
- How do the trends in non-custodial fatherhood affect families served by child welfare agencies?
- How many children in foster care have non-custodial fathers?
- What child welfare policies and practices affect the involvement of non-custodial fathers?
- What are the barriers to father involvement in case planning?
- Are child welfare systems biased against non-custodial fathers?
- What special conditions affect unmarried non-custodial fathers?
- What barriers do fathers face in establishing paternity?
- Do mothers pose barriers to non-custodial father involvement?
- What are the potential effects of father involvement in case planning?
- What are the effects of non-custodial father involvement on child well being?
- What are the effects of non-custodial father involvement on children involved in the child welfare system?
- What promising practices are currently being implemented to identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers in child welfare cases?
Recent Trends in Children’s Living Arrangements
This section describes recent trends in the involvement of fathers in today’s families. While we are particularly interested in children and families involved with the child welfare system, many of the trends in the general population also affect and are sometimes magnified among children served by child welfare agencies. These trends include declines in marriage, increases in non-marital childbearing, rising rates of incarceration, and rising rates of foster care placement.
With declines in marriage, increases in non-marital childbearing, and relatively stable but high rates of divorce and remarriage, an increasing share of children in the U.S. spend substantial portions of their childhoods apart from their biological fathers. The proportion of children under 18 living apart from their biological fathers has grown in the last two decades. Children living with only their mothers have increased from 18 percent of the U.S. child population in 1980 to 23 percent in 1999. Among black children, the proportion increased from 44 percent to 52 percent, and it increased from 20 percent to 27 percent among Hispanic children.4 These statistics cause concern because of the documented association between single parenthood and economic deprivation. Families facing these deprivations are also more likely to be at risk of child neglect and abuse, and may come to the attention of child protective services.
Although it is not always evident, children living in families designated as “two parent families” may also have a parent who lives elsewhere because the other parent has remarried or re-partnered. Overall, the share of children living in two parent families has declined in the last twenty years from 77 to 68 percent. But, in addition, approximately one in ten of the children in these “two parent families” are estimated to live without one of their biological parents.5 Thus, the proportion of children living without one of their birth parents is higher than the single parenthood statistics would indicate and the share has been increasing.
The most recent estimate from the 1997 National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF) is that one in three children under age 18 now lives apart from one of their parents. Most of these children (83 percent) live apart from their biological fathers. In 1997, there were 19 million children with non-custodial biological fathers representing 27 percent of children under age 18 (Sorensen and Zibman, 2000).
Increased father absence can also occur for reasons other than the decline in marriages. Rising rates of incarceration, especially of African American men, have also contributed to father absence among U.S. children. Since 1973, rates of imprisonment have grown four-fold. In 1999, 1 in every 110 males and 1 in every 29 African American males in the U.S. was sentenced to at least a year’s confinement (Travis, Solomon, & Waul, 2001). Approximately 55 percent of male State and 63 percent of male Federal prisoners are fathers; they report having a child under the age of 18 (Mumola, 2000). The remarkable increases in U.S. imprisonment rates of men and of fathers has led to a situation in which it is now estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. children have a parent in prison, in jail, on probation or on parole (This statistic is awaiting vetting by the Bureau of Justice Statistics). Such parents face multiple impediments to protecting and caring for their children. The growth of families with one or more incarcerated parents likely places an extra burden on the child welfare system. Almost 2 percent of fathers in prison, for example, report a child living in a foster home compared to close to 10 percent of mothers in prison (Mumola, 2000).
A small share of children (4 percent) live apart from both parents. This proportion has remained steady over the last two decades. There are, however, wide variations by race and ethnicity. While 3 percent of white children under age 18 live with neither parent, the proportion is 10 percent for black children and 5 percent for Hispanic children (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 2000). Most of these children (91 percent) live with their relatives. A small but growing portion of this kinship care population (21 percent) is supervised by the child welfare system as kin foster care (National Survey of America’s Families, 1999). The remaining children are in non-kin foster care or other arrangements. In 1998, the rate of children placed in foster care, either with kin or non-kin, was 8 per 1000 children, a rate that was double the 1982 rate. Thus, the foster care population of children, who are the focus of our study, constitute a very small, but growing, proportion of all children and of children experiencing father absence.
This evidence documents the growing share of children who do not live with their biological fathers. Shifts in marriage and childbearing patterns, as well as increased incarceration rates of men in their prime childbearing and child-raising years, translate into more and more children in the U.S. living apart from their biological fathers. It is likely that the proportion of children in the child welfare system with non-custodial fathers is greater than the share of children overall and is rising concurrently with the overall trends. However, as will be documented later, it is difficult to estimate the proportion of children in the child welfare system affected by declining rates of resident fathers.
Policy Shifts Encouraging More Father Involvement
The trends that have led to increasing numbers of U.S. children experiencing father absence have sparked a good deal of concern among policy makers and program administrators. As a result, a number of initiatives described below have been implemented or proposed to promote father involvement. As more attention has focused on enforcing the rights and responsibilities of biological fathers, child welfare policy makers and administrators have also had to come to terms with how to deal with the non-custodial fathers of children in out-of-home placement. The nature of these efforts reflects more general shifts in fatherhood policies as well as the more specific shifts in child welfare policy that encourage permanency planning.
Early in his administration, President Bush signaled that increasing father involvement in children’s lives would be a high priority. He declared that he was “determined to make committed, responsible fatherhood a national priority” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). More recently the administration has supported a legislative initiative, The Promotion and Support of Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage Act, which, if passed, would authorize $64 million over FY2002 - FY 2006 for various fatherhood initiative projects. It would add a Part C - Fatherhood Program to Title IV of the Social Security Act, and would support projects designed to test promising approaches to: 1) promoting parenting through counseling, mentoring, parent education; 2) assisting low-income and employed fathers to take advantage of education, job training and job search programs, and to encourage their payment of child support; 3) educating, counseling, and mentoring fathers in matters including household management, banking, time management and home maintenance; and 4) encouraging healthy marriages through premarital education, therapy, divorce education and reduction programs, mediation, relationship skills enhancement, and violence prevention. Reflecting the priorities of the Bush Administration, the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has stated that promoting responsible fatherhood and family formation is one of his top priorities.6
These new initiatives reinforce and complement the emergence of programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which have grown during the last decade as the last two administrations and Congress have made promoting strong families and fatherhood a national objective The first of these efforts focused on enforcing fathers’ financial obligations when marriages ended or did not occur. Starting in 1975, Congress established an open-ended entitlement for child support enforcement services for all families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Since that time Congress has steadily enacted various reforms to strengthen child support enforcement policies. These federal reforms include:
- State tax intercept programs, which established mechanisms to intercept state tax refunds from non-custodial parents who owe back child support (codified into federal law as part of the 1984 Child Support Enforcement Amendments).
- Wage withholding, which began targeting delinquent obligors and has been expanded to include all obligors (“immediate” withholding became part of the federal child support policy through the 1988 Family Support Act, effective January 1994).
- Presumptive guidelines, which made state guidelines for setting child support amounts binding on judges (enacted as part of the 1997 Family Support Act).
- In-hospital paternity programs, which allowed non-custodial fathers to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, are now required in all states (enacted under the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993).
- Establishment of a Federal directory of new hires, which requires employers to report all new hires within 20 days to child support enforcement authorities (enacted as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA)).
- Elimination of the $50 pass through, which previously required states to pass through the first $50 of child support paid to welfare families; 32 states no-longer provide the pass through (enacted under PRWORA), although these policies are currently being reconsidered.
- Paternity rate targets, which mandate that every state establish paternity for at least 50 percent of new non-marital births or make steady and significant progress toward doing so (enacted under PRWORA).
These efforts have strengthened the ability of state agencies to establish paternity, to set up child support orders, and to enforce these orders. They appear to have significantly increased the success of child support enforcement activities. For example, never-married mothers experienced a fourfold increase in their child support receipt rate between 1976 and 1997 (Sorensen & Halpern, 2000). In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush recently called for yet another reform in this area, requesting a change in the program so that fathers’ payments would go to their children directly rather than towards past-due child support for previous welfare payments for their children.
Another recent change has been the integration of child support enforcement requirements into a wide variety of federal programs. Approval of applications for AFDC and now TANF and Medicaid (for parents) has long been contingent on cooperation with the child support agency. Now other federal and state programs are requiring participation in the child support program as a condition of program eligibility. In order to receive Food Stamps, for example, a single custodial parent must make efforts to gain financial assistance from the non-custodial parent. In some states, parents are required to participate in child support enforcement in order to receive financial assistance for child care.
Given these changes, it is not surprising that attention has now turned to how child support enforcement might complement and bolster states’ efforts to protect and support children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Indeed, foster care agencies are required to take steps where appropriate to secure an assignment to the state of any rights to support on behalf of a child receiving foster care maintenance payments (U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means, 2000). Anecdotally, states are reporting increased interest in securing child support payments for children in foster care. Data from the past three years support this contention with the total amount of collections7 reported to the Federal government increasing from a total of $37.1 million (FY99) to $52 million (FY01) (Bess, Andrews, Jantz, & Russell, forthcoming).
Other related federal initiatives focus on promoting the motivation and capacity of low-income fathers to help their children. Demonstration projects have been mounted to test the impact of providing employment services, peer support, and help in arranging visitation with their children in connection with child support collection efforts. These efforts include the Partners for Fragile Families program, the Responsible Fatherhood program, and the Access and Visitation program. To date, these demonstration projects have been small-scale efforts. However the administration’s proposal for welfare reform reauthorization includes a $300 million investment in programs that encourage healthy, stable marriages.
Beyond an emphasis on child support and welfare (or temporary assistance) programs, the Fatherhood Initiative at the Department of Health and Human Services has grown to be a much broader effort that also includes linkages with other federal departments. There are demonstration programs to involve fathers in Early Head Start projects and in Healthy Start programs. DHHS and the Department of Education have set up a joint Fathers Matter! Program. There are efforts to identify successful state strategies to promote marriage and reduce non-marital pregnancies. Prevention programs that help men avoid fatherhood before they are mature enough to care for their children have also expanded. These efforts include the Abstinence education programs funded under PRWORA. Finally, there has been a substantial effort to increase research and evaluation related to family formation and fathering. A major cooperative activity sponsored by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics prepared a report in 1998 that is the foundation of these efforts. More recently, the Forum has prepared a fatherhood indicators report released on Fathers Day 2002. Thus, although fathers have been on the policy radar screen for about a quarter of a century, the momentum of efforts to address fathers’ lack of connection with their children has grown substantially in the last five years.
How do the trends in non-custodial fatherhood affect families served by child welfare agencies?
Children in the child welfare system have not been immune to the trends in increased father absence. There is evidence that the majority of children in the system have non-custodial fathers, although the exact proportion is unclear. Further, some of the recent shifts in child welfare policy have had ramifications for how non-custodial fathers are involved in case planning.
How many children in foster care have non-custodial fathers?
It is difficult to estimate how many children in the child welfare system or in foster care, particularly, have non-custodial fathers.8 The available data suggest that the proportion is substantial. 1999 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data reveal that 23 states reported fairly completely on the pre-foster care family situation of children in foster care. For those states in which less than 10 percent of cases have missing data,9 most report that at least half of the children come from single parent families headed by a female. The range was from a low of 37 percent in Oregon to a high of 88 percent in Maryland. Additional cases are reported to come from unmarried couple families, ranging from very few in Tennessee and Virginia to 37 percent in Vermont. Many of these families probably do not include both of the child’s biological parents. In addition, some unknown proportion of the cases from married couple families come from step-parent families (see Exhibit 1).
|Married Couple||Unmarried Couple||Single Female||Single Male|
Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), Foster Care Data, Version 1, 1999.
Notes: States included in chart contain 10% or fewer cases that are missing or unable to determine on the caretaker family structure variable.
* Removal family refers to adult caretakers from whom the child was removed for the current foster care episode.
Individual states have also collected statistics, although their generalizability is severely limited. Data from 10 California counties indicate that single-parent families accounted for 79 percent of both child abuse and neglect reports and investigations, as well as 83 percent and 84 percent of case openings and foster placements, respectively (Needell, 1999). Data from a study of 450 foster care children in a large county in Southeastern Florida indicate that only 10 percent of the cases include either the child’s biological father or a paternal relative residing in the household from which the child had been removed (Rittner, 1995).
There are some data available, although limited, on the percent of children in the child welfare system for whom paternity is established. Two studies — the National Study of Protective, Preventive, and Reunification Services (NSPPRS) and the Urban Institute’s National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF) provide information on the degree to which paternity is established. The 1994 NSPPRS data indicate that paternity was known, although not necessarily established, in approximately 80 percent of child welfare cases.10 Recent NSAF data (1999) show that the father was legally identified in 80 percent of public kinship families, but identified in only 55 percent of non-kin foster care families. The relatively low rate of father identification for non-kin foster care families may be related to the fact that the respondent was probably the foster mother, and she may not have known about the child’s paternity status.11 This evidence suggests that although the proportion of child welfare cases with a non-custodial father is high, many of these fathers have been identified and are therefore potentially available for involvement in case planning.
What child welfare policies and practices affect the involvement of non-custodial fathers?
There are a number of shifts in child welfare policies and practices that could make the involvement of non-custodial fathers in child welfare case planning more likely. These include the provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997, the nationwide movement of the field towards concurrent case planning, the increasing use of kinship placements and the growing popularity of family decision-making in case planning. Each of these trends and their potential for increasing the role of non-custodial fathers in case planning is described below. However, no research was identified that examines whether these practices actually increase the involvement of non-custodial fathers.
ASFA requires the reduction of the time in which child welfare agencies must make permanency decisions for children in custody from 18 months to 12 months, making the early identification and location of non-custodial fathers more important. In addition, ASFA both allowed and encouraged states to use the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) employed by child support enforcement programs to locate fathers and other relatives. Child welfare agencies routinely identify and assess non-custodial parents as potential placement resources, and some states’ policies explicitly give preference to them. California’s policy, for example, states that “the first placement priority is for placement in the home of the non-custodial parent, or in the home of a suitable relative (if a non-custodial parent is unavailable).” Other states’ policies are more general, such as the policy in Texas that requires the agency to ensure that parents are unable or unwilling to provide care prior to placing a child in out-of-home care. Michigan’s policy manual states that while “return home” is usually the most appropriate goal when a child is first placed in foster care, where indicated, the focus may shift to the non-custodial parent’s home.
Agencies must identify non-custodial parents as early as possible so that termination of their rights, when needed, can occur swiftly. The 2000 Adoption and Permanency Guidelines from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, state that, “At the very first hearing on a petition alleging abuse or neglect, efforts should begin to include all parents involved in the life of the child and to locate absent parents.” The guidelines go on to discuss the importance of putative fathers being located and brought into court early both to resolve paternity issues but also to avoid court delays later in the process (Grossmann, Funk, Mentaberry, & Seibel, 2000). While judicial guidelines have long sought this early identification, the implementation of ASFA has increased the likelihood that this is occurring more consistently. In addition to identifying and locating non-custodial fathers for the express purpose of accelerating the termination of parental rights, finding these fathers is important to the adoption proceedings so that the paternal side of the child’s background and medical history can be obtained prior to adoption. Finally, the resolution of such paternity issues may also be instrumental in locating and securing other paternal relatives that may be utilized in permanency planning.
Another practice within child welfare agencies, increasing nationwide, is the use of concurrent planning (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1999). This practice encourages caseworkers to pursue more than one goal for the child. From the beginning of the case process, caseworkers can simultaneously attempt to locate a permanent or adoptive home for a child while they seek to preserve or reunite the child with his/her family. Efforts to locate non-custodial fathers may occur much earlier when child welfare agencies support concurrent planning because fathers or their relatives may be a placement resource. Moreover, fathers need to be identified and located to obtain termination of parental rights if the adoption option is pursued.
Two other trends in child welfare practice, the increasing use of kinship placements and the use of family decision-making models, may affect the ways in which caseworkers identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers. The use of relatives or “kin” as foster parents increased significantly in the 1980s and early 1990s. One of the main factors contributing to the use of kinship care is that child welfare agencies have developed a more positive attitude toward the use of kin as foster parents. In addition, the number of non-kin foster parents has not kept pace with the number of children requiring out of home care. The increased use of kinship care may also reflect recent court decisions upholding the rights of relatives to act as foster parents and to be financially compensated for doing so (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). Policies and practices geared toward identifying and locating relatives as potential placements may lead workers to identify and locate non-custodial parents. Not only have agency policies shifted in favor of placement with relatives, but the focus is on finding these relatives early in the process, prior to having to place the child in a non-kin foster home.
Two studies were identified that have examined the extent to which child welfare agencies use non-custodial fathers as placement resources for children in foster care. These have limited applicability, however, because they rely on very small samples and are dated (Greif & Zuravin, 1989; Lagnese & Green, 1976). The 1989 study examined 17 fathers who had gained custody of their children after removal from a maltreating mother. The authors found that the vast majority did not have much involvement with their children prior to custody and were not eager to gain custody. After gaining custody, these fathers were not particularly cooperative with their caseworkers nor were they dependable. The 1976 study surveyed foster care workers on cases in which the father was the only significant birth parent. In at least half of the father-only cases in this study, fathers were not included in discharge planning. Reasons similar to those found with mothers, such as lack of appropriate housing or a lack of suitable child care, were the most common barriers to planning.
The increased use of kinship care within child welfare can also hasten the involvement of the non-custodial father to the extent that financial support is sought. Relatives who receive a TANF payment or foster care payment on behalf of a related child are required to cooperate with child support enforcement. States are increasingly seeking reimbursement for the cost of care of foster children through child support enforcement efforts. A significant proportion of children in foster care are eligible for federal IV-E reimbursement funds to the state.12 Also, child welfare agencies are increasingly requiring parents to repay the cost of out-of-home placement for children ineligible for IV-E reimbursement. Relatives participating in recent focus groups on kinship care giving, conducted by the Urban Institute, noted that their offspring were upset at being required to repay the monthly foster care payment that was being provided to the relative caregiver.
Increasingly, child welfare agencies are also utilizing family group conferencing or family meetings.13 These techniques seek to include a range of individuals — all immediate and extended family members, child welfare staff, and community provider staff — in the case process. Through the family meetings, agency staff are able to inform family members of the case particulars, the case process, agency and court procedures, as well as to solicit their input on case planning, identification of potential placement options, and permanency outcomes. During the organization and facilitation of these family meetings, agency workers are likely to obtain extensive information about the non-custodial father from other family members. Thus, agencies using this form of casework practice are probably in a better position to identify, locate and involve non-custodial fathers in case planning.
What are the barriers to father involvement in case planning?
There are no published studies of the extent of non-custodial fathers’ involvement in child welfare case planning. Anecdotal evidence suggests that traditionally biological fathers have been overlooked in the case planning process. However, the recent trends described above have occasioned more attention to the need to involve birth fathers. A number of studies have therefore examined some of the reasons why birth fathers have not been more involved in the case planning process. The literature suggests that barriers to the involvement of non-custodial fathers in child welfare casework may be related to caseworker and systemic bias, mothers’ gate keeping, and the characteristics of non-custodial fathers. The following sections address these barriers.
Are child welfare systems biased against non-custodial fathers?
Worker bias against father involvement appears to be the most widely researched barrier to fathers’ participation in child welfare case planning. A 1990 review of five major social work journals over a 27-year period found, for example, that the literature available on fathers primarily concentrated on the negative elements of fathering. Three views of fathers emerged — fathers who were perpetrators of abuse or neglect, fathers who were missing and needed, and single-parent fathers (Greif & Bailey, 1990). Several studies have examined the extent of case worker bias against involving birth fathers in case planning, but most were conducted prior to the growth of policy interest in fathers (Dailey, 1980; Fischer, Dulaney, Hudak, & Zivotofsky, 1976; Jaffe, Lamb, & Sagi, 1983). A more recent study conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah found that workers primarily orient their services to mothers , and this pattern is true regardless of the gender of the case worker (Lazar, Sagi, & Fraser, 1991). Another recent study conducted in three New York City foster care agencies explored whether birthfathers were being ignored as a resource for discharge planning (Franck, 2001). The study found that the caseworkers did not pay attention to birth fathers to the degree they worked with birth mothers, but birth fathers also did not respond to outreach efforts as well as birth mothers. These findings suggest that the fathers had to demonstrate to the caseworker their connection to the child whereas the mothers’ connection to the child was taken for granted by the caseworkers (Franck, 2001). There is also evidence that caseworkers’ attitudes about fathers make a difference. In a small study of workers in New York City, those with more positive values and attitudes toward biological parents did in fact have greater levels of activity with these parents. The levels of activity in turn affected whether biological parents received the services they needed (Nisivoccia, 1993).
Characteristics of non-custodial fathers may contribute to this situation. A significant number of non-custodial fathers are incarcerated, homeless, significantly impaired by substance abuse, or otherwise unable to provide emotional or financial support to the mother and children (Greif & Zuravin, 1989). Additionally, while neglectful mothers are routinely provided a range of services (including housing and employment assistance) in order to maintain custody of the children, in most cases, non-custodial fathers would not be eligible for these services (Rasheed, 1999). Child welfare agencies offer family preservation and family reunification services to custodial parents, e.g., providing assistance so that children are able to remain in the home or be returned to the home. However, these same services are not routinely offered to non-custodial parents. With the increasing use of relative care, and the many supportive services being offered and provided to relatives, agencies may begin to modify the services available to non-custodial parents.
It is important to note that similar biases may also exist within family courts, among judges as well as attorneys. No research studies were found on this topic, however, the Urban Institute has collected qualitative information on the subject from focus groups with caseworkers about kinship care. In response to questions about whether or not the courts were favorable toward kinship care, the workers indicated that within individual court rooms, judges can play an integral role in whether or not a child is placed with relatives or in a non-kin foster home. A pertinent example regarding father involvement is a worker seeking child-father visitation. Even with careful preparation of the reasons why visitation should occur, the judge can make a final decision contrary to the worker’s view of what is in the best interests of the child. Likewise, searches for relatives can vary greatly, with the definition of a diligent search for a non-custodial father varying based upon the judge’s personal views.
Another example of possible judicial prejudice against fathers is the “primary caretaker preference” standard that is utilized in some jurisdictions to make custody determinations. The “primary caretaker preference” supports the idea that it is in a child’s best interests to remain with the parent who is responsible for the primary caretaking functions, thereby giving the “primary caretaker” firm preference in custody placement decisions. While the majority of states reject this standard, West Virginia, and to some degree, Minnesota, continue to uphold the primary caretaker preference in making custody decisions (Crippen, 1990; Smith, 2000). For example, in West Virginia, the primary caretaker presumption is used as the sole factor for making custody determinations (Smith, 2000). While this presumption does not explicitly state a gender preference, the result is often female parent custody.
Other women involved with non-custodial fathers can also be determining factors in whether or not non-custodial fathers gain custody of their children. One study of fathers who had gained custody of their children due to abuse or neglect perpetrated by the mother found that the presence of a stabilizing female influence in his household, either a girlfriend or wife, had a positive effect on whether the father gained custody of the children (Greif and Zuravin, 1989).
A series of factors can explain the caseworkers’ actions. Many caseworkers lack guidance and training about how to successfully engage fathers even when agency policies may dictate contact with the non-custodial father at appointed times throughout the case period. A study of incarcerated fathers, for example, concluded that little or no training was provided to child welfare workers about how best to involve these fathers in the lives of their children. Also no information was provided to the workers about the benefits to the children of involving fathers (Hairston, 1998).
Other factors influencing child welfare workers’ efforts to engage and involve non-custodial fathers include their heavy workloads in general. Caseworkers may believe that the time and energy needed to engage a previously uninvolved fathers may not be worth the effort. Although many agencies are trying to decrease caseloads, staff shortages create problems (Malm, Bess, Leos-Urbel, Geen, & Markowitz, 2001). Overburdened workers may be hesitant to involve non-custodial fathers or paternal relatives. Caseworkers participating in the Urban Institute’s focus groups on kinship care noted that involving fathers is particularly challenging for cases in which children with the same mother have different fathers. A kinship placement with a maternal relative results in placing siblings together in the same home whereas seeking paternal relatives can result in separating siblings. Paternal relatives would be unrelated to the half siblings and not given priority for placement.
Leashore (1997) suggests that the involvement of fathers may be even more difficult when white caseworkers are dealing with the fathers of African American children. Child welfare caseworkers are described as possibly having fearful or stereotyped perceptions of African American men. These caseworkers may hesitate to involve the fathers even though African American and Hispanic fathers are reported to have higher rates of shared child care responsibility than do white fathers (Leashore, 1997). Additionally, other recent research suggests that young black children benefit from the presence of nonresident fathers (Jackson, 1999).
An additional issue that may explain caseworkers’ reluctance to involve non-custodial fathers in case planning is their familiarity with male perpetrators in child abuse cases. While children are most often neglected by female perpetrators (87% by females vs. 43% by males), children are more often abused by males (67% versus 40% for females). The prevalence of male perpetrators is highest among sex abuse cases (89 percent of cases) (Sedlak & Broadhurst, 1996). Recent research also emphasizes the degree to which father surrogates, such as mothers’ boyfriends, increase the likelihood of child maltreatment (Radhakrishna, Bou-Saada, Hunter, Catellier, & Kotch, 2001). While these findings relate specifically to non-biological fathers,14 evidence of maltreatment by males in the household may reinforce concerns about males in general, including non-custodial fathers. Further evidence about child maltreatment and domestic violence suggest that cases of violence against children and violence against women overlap in the same families for between 30 to 60 percent of the cases (Edelson, 1999). Increasingly, child welfare agencies are addressing domestic violence in child welfare cases with many agencies now providing specialized training to caseworkers, hiring domestic violence specialists, and coordinating with local domestic violence organizations. Thus, caseworkers may be involved in cases in which fathers figure prominently as the perpetrator of violence both against the mother as well as the children.
What special conditions affect unmarried non-custodial fathers?
Children may have non-custodial fathers because of the breakup of their parents’ marriage or because a marriage never occurred between the parents in the first place. Across time, the proportion of children in the U.S. with non-custodial fathers who were born outside of marriage has risen substantially. These children are less likely to have child support orders in place and to be more economically disadvantaged compared to the children of divorce. These children also pose special challenges to child welfare workers who seek to involve their biological fathers in the case planning process because paternity must be legally established prior to substantial work with these fathers or the fathers’ kin (Rasheed, 1999). Caseworkers included in the Urban Institute’s focus groups on kinship care described how one barrier to placing with paternal relatives was the fact that many of the fathers have not had their paternity adjudicated. Thus, paternal relatives could not be given priority without establishing their relationship to the child.
The development of best practices for involving non-marital fathers in child welfare case planning has probably been hindered by shifts in the case law across time and the varying approaches that states and counties have taken to establishing paternity. Below we briefly review what is known about these trends and patterns.
In the United States, the rights of fathers who are not married to the mothers of their biological children have shifted over time. Relatively recently, i.e., prior to the 1970’s, these fathers had few rights relative to their biological children. This situation began to change when Supreme Court rulings began to put in place some standards regarding the rights of these fathers. It was not until Stanley v. Illinois (1972) that unwed fathers were afforded the right to a hearing of parental fitness prior to the revocation of custodial rights to a biological child (Dapolito, 1993). Later cases, however, refined the instances in which fathers’ rights could be considered. In Quilloin v. Walcott (1978), for example, such protections are granted only to fathers that have demonstrated parental responsibilities and participation in the child’s life (Aizpuru, 1999). In Caban v. Mohammed (1979), unwed fathers gained the parental right to block the adoption of their child by withholding consent, a right which had been granted previously to mothers only (Eveleigh, 1989). Finally, in Lehr v. Robertson (1983), the court held that notice of adoptions are to be served only to fathers who have their names on the birth certificate, live with the mother, file in a paternity registry, or take other such steps to establish a substantial relationship with the child (Eveleigh, 1989). Complicating this situation is the fact that approaches to paternal registries vary from state by state, and registration deadlines may be as early as five days from the date of the child’s birth (Aizpuru, 1999). The most common result of a failure to register or establish paternity within this time period is the automatic termination of parental rights (Aizpuru, 1999). Such factors as the lack of awareness of the need to register, a lack of knowledge about the existence of the paternal registry system, or a lack of knowledge of the child’s birth among fathers could result in termination of parental rights in these cases. This circumstance was presented in McNamara v. San Diego County Department of Social Services (1988) a case in which a child was placed with an adoptive family prior to the knowledge of the father regarding the birth of his illegitimate child (Eveleigh, 1989). Subsequent to the father gaining knowledge of the child, a judicial hearing was held. In this case, a “best interests standard” was utilized to determine the placement of the child. Despite the fitness of the parental figure, custody was awarded to the non-parent due to the detrimental consequences of removal of the child from the home following many years of residence with the adoptive family. More recent case law (Case of Kelsey S., 1992) has addressed this issue to some extent, taking into consideration the behavior of the father (“fitness”) in relation to the child, as well as the “best interests” of the child (Gustafson, 1993).
What barriers do fathers face in establishing paternity?
Perhaps the most significant barrier to the establishment of paternity is currently the lack of standardization among states in accomplishing this process. In some states, a simple civil process referred to as a voluntary paternity acknowledgement is utilized (Office of Inspector General, 2000a). This method is often implemented in-hospital, but is also used in child support offices, vital records offices, and other social service agency settings (Office of Inspector General, 2000a). In 1999, this paternity establishment method was cited as being used in 45 states (National Conference of State Legislatures, 1999).
States may also utilize other administrative and judicial establishment methods, using varying levels of court involvement (See Exhibit 2). Administrative methods usually rely on the actions of the child support agency, with limited court involvement (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b). Twenty-five states use quasi-administrative paternity establishment practices (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b). In these cases, mutual parental consent is often combined with genetic testing, referred to as “Agreed Orders” or “Consent Agreements” (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b). In some cases, the only administrative method that states utilize is the voluntary paternity acknowledgement discussed above. Additionally, practices surrounding the use of genetic tests, level of judicial involvement, and time frames for acknowledgement and rescinding paternity differ by jurisdiction. Practices have been found to differ not only between states, but also within states, counties, and by particular cases within counties (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b).
|State||Administ/ Quasi-Judicial||Judicial/Quasi Judicial||State||Administ/ Quasi-Judicial||Judicial/Quasi Judicial|
|District of Columbia||X||North Dakota||X|
|Source: Office of the Inspector General, 2000.|
Judicial paternity establishment methods are utilized in approximately 26 states (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b). These typically involve the naming of a putative father through a judicial hearing, utilizing genetic testing (Office of Inspector General, 2000b). Court appearances by one or both parents may be required, with actual testimony in some cases. The level of judicial involvement and authority in paternity establishment practices varies by state, locality and caseload (Office of the Inspector General, 2000b).
The variation in the methods utilized to establish paternity as well as the variation in specific practices, timelines, and other requirements found within and across jurisdictions are likely to cause confusion among both prospective and new parents. Additionally, it is quite possible that states have varying levels of success in communicating these methods to the general public. Among those who have gained awareness, navigating the system may be difficult. The complexity of the paternity establishment process for fathers can pose a significant barrier to parental involvement with children.
Since the establishment of paternity usually results in mandated payment of child support, fathers’ unwillingness or inability to pay child support may be another barrier to establishing paternity or getting divorced fathers involved in case planning (Pons-Bunney, 1998). Certainly non-custodial fathers who cannot pay child support could be involved in their children’s lives in other ways. For example, a parent who cannot afford to contribute financial resources may be willing to contribute in other forms of non-financial support. In some cases, fathers may prefer to provide informal financial support outside of the child support system (Office of the Inspector General, 1999; Waller & Plotnick, 2001). Some have argued that this is likely if the formal payments go towards state reimbursement for the mother’s financial assistance rather than to the child and mother directly (Office of Inspector General, 1999). Thus, potential involvement in the child support system may act as a barrier in the establishment of paternity among fathers.
Do mothers pose barriers to non-custodial father involvement?
Mothers may affect the level of involvement of non-custodial fathers by failing to identify fathers initially or by downplaying the father’s importance in the child’s life. Results of the focus groups being conducted with child welfare workers for the Urban Institute’s study on kinship care provide some information about how fathers are identified. Caseworkers noted that some mothers refuse to identify the child’s father until a court hearing when a judge orders it. Early casework activities focus on “engaging” the mother in terms of encouraging her to accept treatment and take advantage of required services. While identifying the father is also a concern, workers may hesitate to reach out to the father if they think that the mother will be hostile. In addition, as the earlier discussion of domestic violence indicates, workers may be concerned that a mother’s reluctance to identify a father may be caused by fears about safety. The opinion of the child, depending upon the child’s age, will also be respected and considered by the caseworker. Caseworkers must often balance the competing demands of the child and mother with the requirements of policy and practice.
Mothers may act as “gatekeepers” either facilitating or blocking access to the father. Studies examining paternity establishment have noted the importance of the mother’s cooperation in identifying and locating the biological father. Additionally, the relationship between the father and mother, as well as the custody arrangement, can affect the frequency of involvement of the non-custodial father in his child’s life (Minton & Pasley, 1996; Seltzer, 1998). A recent evaluation of the Parents’ Fair Share Program15 found that low-income fathers were often frustrated in their efforts to be better parents by the custodial mothers (Miller & Knox, 2001). Other studies of two-parent families have also examined maternal gatekeeping in terms of the conditions necessary for fathers and mothers to work as equal partners in caring for their homes and families (Allen & Hawkins, 1999; De Luccie, 1995).
Mothers may hesitate to notify authorities about the whereabouts of the father because of concerns that he might get in trouble with the law because he has outstanding child support payments, is an undocumented immigrant, or has outstanding arrest warrants. Relatives may also hesitate before providing this information. Relative caregivers participating in the focus groups on kinship care noted that they were reluctant to provide this information. This was either because of repercussions to them if the father determined that they had notified authorities, or because the father is in no position to provide child support (e.g., father is unemployed).
What are the potential effects of father involvement in case planning?
Current research suggests that the majority of non-custodial fathers are engaged in their child’s life to some extent. In 1997, half (52 percent) of children with a nonresident parent received financial assistance from their nonresident parent and 72 percent had some contact with that parent in the past year. (Sorensen & Zibman, 2000). In a study of unwed fathers conducted by Johnson (2001), 75 percent to 96 percent were highly involved with their children at birth. However, this participation varies by the age of the child, tending to decrease over time (Lerman & Sorensen, 2000). An ongoing qualitative study of low-income, non-custodial fathers in Philadelphia offers a detailed look at how low-income nonresident fathers view fatherhood. While many of the fathers noted that their children had made them change from their “street” lifestyle, most had done little for their children, particularly as their children aged. (Nelson, Edin, & Lundquist, 2001). These data lead us to wonder what the extent of non-custodial father involvement is in the lives of children in the child welfare system and what are the anticipated benefits of involving these fathers to a greater extent.
What are the effects of non-custodial father involvement on child well being?
A review of the literature on the effects of father involvement on child well being produces inconsistent information. Several studies have concluded that custodial fathers may provide children with significant advantages compared to children with non-custodial fathers. These advantages may include the promotion of healthy child development (Lamb, 1986 cited in Nord & Zill, 1996; Lamb, 1997 cited in Featherstone, 2001), higher participation in activities (Brown, Michelsen, Halle, & Moore, 2001) and socialization (McAdoo, 1993). Studies have also found that the absence of the father in the household may have detrimental effects on a child’s academic achievement, as well as emotional and social development (Gadsden, 1995; Graham, Beller, & Hernandez, 1994 cited in Garfinkel, McLanahan, and Robins, 1994; Johnson, 2001). These decrements may be the result of lower financial resources when a parent is absent (McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994).
When children have non-custodial fathers, studies suggest that the involvement of these fathers can have positive effects on their children. First, father involvement through financial contributions (i.e. child support payments) has been associated with positive benefits including higher academic achievement among children (Knox, 1996) and fewer behavior problems (Jackson, 1999; Perloff & Buckner, 1996). These positive benefits, however, appear to be conditional on the traits of the parent. For example, negative behaviors of the parent, such as substance abuse, are associated with increased child behavior problems (Perloff & Buckner, 1996). Thus, the type of parenting and quality of involvement appear to play an important role.
While several of the above studies provide evidence of the benefits of both custodial and noncustodial father involvement on child outcomes, a number of studies yield conflicting information. In a study by Furstenberg and colleagues (1987) on non-custodial paternal involvement, little evidence was gained to suggest either harmful or beneficial impacts on child well-being as a result of father participation in their child’s life (Furstenberg, Morgan & Allison, 1987). However, this study found a modest indirect effect of noncustodial paternal economic support on child problem behavior (Furstenberg et al., 1987). Similar inconclusive results have been obtained in other studies as well, suggesting few effects associated with custodial father involvement (Hawkins & Eggebeen, 1991) and no distinct patterns of noncustodial father participation in relation to child intellectual and psychosocial functioning (King, 1994). Thus, there currently appears to be a lack of consensus about the weight of the evidence on this topic.
What are the effects of non-custodial father involvement on children involved in the child welfare system?
There are a number of recent child welfare practices that make the involvement of non-custodial fathers more likely, but we found no research studies designed to examine how, and if, these practices are increasing the involvement of non-custodial fathers in child welfare casework. There was no research about the extent of child-father visitation in child welfare cases. In addition, we did not find research on the effects of father involvement in child welfare cases.
What promising practices are currently being implemented to identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers in child welfare cases?
There is recent evidence that some child welfare agencies, in conjunction with child support enforcement programs, are working diligently to identify and locate non-custodial fathers. The 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act both allowed and encouraged states to begin to use the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) to locate fathers and other relatives. ASFA authorized child welfare and child support enforcement agencies to request information from the FPLS to locate individuals who have or may have parental rights to a child. Interagency agreements between the agencies were also encouraged. An informational memorandum sent January 1, 1999 to state agencies administering or supervising the administration of Title IV-D and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act provided information on using the FPLS for child welfare services. In addition, the 1993 federally-mandated Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (SACWIS) being implemented by states child welfare agencies required a link to child support data.
Efforts to coordinate child welfare and child support services may offer promise. Results from an evaluation of South Carolina’s Department of Social Services’ diligent search project showed that missing parents were located in over 75 percent of the cases referred by child welfare staff, and more than half of these cases were located in less than a month. Fathers were far more likely to be the subject of the search than mothers, representing 72 percent of the total referrals. The results also showed that in 15 percent of families there were referrals to locate more than one father. This occurred both in cases involving undetermined paternity as well as families in which multiple children had different fathers. It is important to note that 10 percent of fathers were found through the prison, probation, or parole systems.
There is also some evidence of increased state level coordination between child welfare and child support agencies in a handful of states. Interviews being conducted with child welfare administrators in all 50 states by the Urban Institute have identified a few states with increased coordination. In Kansas, for example, the child support enforcement and child welfare agencies are both emphasizing the involvement of fathers, although no joint activities are currently being undertaken. In addition, Wisconsin’s child support agency has hired paternity specialists who are available to child welfare workers to assist in identifying and locating non-custodial fathers (Bess, Andrews, Jantz, & Russell, forthcoming).
During the Urban Institute’s study of kinship care, some agencies reported that, with the increased focus on kinship care placements, specialized units have been created specifically to search for relatives, including non-custodial fathers. In other agencies, no special unit was created, yet individual caseworkers had access to the welfare agency’s data system to help locate non-custodial fathers and other relatives. It is important to note, however, that very few of the local child welfare administrators interviewed had implemented using the Federal Parent Locator System to locate non-custodial fathers. In fact, some administrators were unaware that this resource could be utilized by the child welfare system.
Other examples of promising new approaches are communities receiving Model Court project grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Mentaberry, 1999). Some of these communities are implementing innovative approaches to expediting permanency for children, including projects that focus on paternity establishment and locating absent parents as primary goals. Responsible fatherhood programs and programs for incarcerated parents also provide examples of some potentially promising practices. Programs focused on prisoners, such as “Long Distance Dads” implemented by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, address the needs of incarcerated fathers. This program is a 12-week program designed to promote fatherhood and empower fathers to assume responsibility for their children both during and after incarceration. Other promising models include the F.A.C.T. Program in Kentucky, a collaborative effort between Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and the Blackburn Correctional Complex. This program teaches fathers who are incarcerated responsible parenthood and abuse prevention, with graduates of the program entitled to special visits with their children in less restrictive environments. Another program entitled Papas and Their Children (PATCH) has been developed in San Antonio, Texas. This is a weekly program facilitating participatory activities between children and their incarcerated fathers at several State jails.
In our preliminary review of responsible fatherhood programs, we found two programs with components that may address child abuse and neglect. A fatherhood program in Hawaii is providing parenting skills for fathers in families identified as at risk for child abuse and neglect. The participating fathers are being served by a Healthy Start child abuse prevention program. In Chicago, Illinois, the Paternal Involvement Project has been a strong advocate for fathers since 1992 and was instrumental in drafting legislation that created the state’s first Non-custodial Parent Services Unit.16 The group is currently participating in a pilot project with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in an effort to promote non-custodial fathers as custodial alternatives to mothers who are unable to care for children (Jeffries, Menghraj, & Hairston, 2001).
Our review has uncovered a few examples of promising new efforts to involve non-custodial fathers in child welfare case planning. However, as indicated, these efforts are fairly limited, and no rigorous evaluations have been conducted yet to assess whether the efforts lead to positive effects for the case outcomes.
Summary and Conclusions
It seems clear that the recent trends putting more emphasis on the involvement of non-custodial fathers in their children’s lives are likely to affect the families served by child welfare agencies. Many child welfare families are also part of the TANF caseload, the majority of whom are single parent families. While no national data exists on the percent of children in foster care who have non-custodial fathers, the likelihood of this being a significant portion is high. Enhanced efforts to establish paternity and enforce child support orders within the TANF population will therefore affect child welfare families. Increasingly, child welfare agencies are also seeking to recoup the cost of foster care payments through child support collection.
For the most part, this literature review has revealed the dearth of research specific to the topic of non-custodial father involvement in the child welfare system. While a few studies have focused attention on fathers as placement resources for their children, there was no research about child-father visitation or on the effects of involving fathers in the lives of children being served by child welfare agencies. Additionally, while the nature of recent policy reforms and initiatives, e.g., expedited permanency planning, concurrent planning, and family group meetings, lead us to believe that child welfare agencies will increasingly identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers in casework and permanency planning, the current lack of research means that there is no evidence to predict the likely effects of these shifts in case practice.
An area that has received some attention over the years is that of caseworker bias against fathers. While studies have concluded that bias does exist, the findings are limited to small scale, non-generalizable studies conducted several years ago. In addition, there is some evidence that mothers can present barriers to greater father involvement. Studies of non-custodial fathers in general have identified certain characteristics — such as unemployment, substance abuse, and incarceration — as barriers to greater involvement with their children. Not surprisingly, child welfare caseworkers do not consider these characteristics, when they are present, as markers of a good placement option for a child.
There are some limited efforts to promote collaborations between child welfare and child support enforcement agencies. The results of the South Carolina diligent search project appear promising. The focus of this effort thus far appears to be on identifying and locating fathers primarily for the purposes of expediting the termination of parental rights, thereby hastening adoption proceedings. Other collaborative efforts are focused on increasing child support collections. Few programs, with the exception of the parental involvement project in Illinois, focus attention on finding non-custodial fathers as placement resources.
The lack of basic research about how non-custodial fathers are involved in the child welfare permanency planning process provides a strong rationale for the current study which will examine case work practices in five states. For these five states, the study will provide information that is currently not available about:
- How many children in foster care have non-custodial fathers?
- How do child welfare policies and caseworker practices currently involve non-custodial fathers in case planning?
- What are the perceived barriers to involving non-custodial fathers in case planning?
- What are the perceived likely effects of non-custodial father involvement?
- How many children in foster care are known to the child support program and can child support locator services assist child welfare agencies in identifying and locating non-custodial fathers?
- What promising practices are currently being implemented to identify, locate, and involve non-custodial fathers in child welfare cases?
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Travis, J., Solomon, A. L., and M. Waul. 2001. From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Ways and Means. 2000. 2000 Green Book. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. 2000. Report to The Congress on Kinship Foster Care. See http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/kinr2c00/.
U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services. 2001. Fatherhood Initiative. See http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. 2000. Trends in the Well-being of America’s Children and Youth 2000. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U. S. General Accounting Office. 1999. Foster Care: States’ Early Experiences Implementing the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
Waller, M., and R. Plotnick. 2001. “Effective Child Support Policy for Low-Income Families: Evidence from Street Level Research.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 20(1): 89-110.
Appendix A. Annotated Bibliography
|Citation||Review/Summary of Findings||Measures/Design|
|Allen, W.D., and W.J. Doherty. 1996. “The Responsibilities of Fatherhood as Perceived by African American Teenage Fathers.” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 77(3): 142-155.||The experience of adolescent fatherhood was explored through asking youth what being a father meant to them. Major themes include the perception of fatherhood, “being there” and responsibility, the importance of fathers, self-image as fathers, and obstacles to fathers’ involvement.||In-depth interviews with 10 African American teenage fathers from a mid-western city.|
|Allen, S.M. and A.J. Hawkins. 1999. "Maternal Gatekeeping: Mothers’ Beliefs and Behaviors that Inhibit Greater Father Involvement in Family Work." Journal of Marriage and the Family 61(1): 199-212.||Examines the role of maternal gatekeeping and its sociohistorical context. Dimensions of standards and responsibility, differentiated family role, and family work were reviewed.|
|Bernard, S.N. and J. Knitzer. 1999. Map and Track: State Initiatives to Encourage Responsible Fatherhood. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty.||Community-based responsible fatherhood programs have spread dramatically in the last few years. Most work both to establish paternity and to foster each father’s lifetime commitment to his children. They offer mentoring by older fathers, employment and training assistance, education, peer support and group counseling, individual counseling, and parenting skills training. States are also developing responsible fatherhood programs, emphasizing promotion of public awareness about importance of fathers in children’s lives, enhancing fathers as economic providers, strengthening them as nurturers, and promoting leadership. Fifty states report some level of fatherhood promotion activity; the level varies considerably among states.|
|Brown, B., Michelsen, E., Halle, T., and K. Moore 2001. “Fathers' Activities with Their Kids.” Washington, DC: Child Trends. Research Brief.||Data from multiple sources are used to report on the involvement of fathers (all of whom are fathers who live with their children) in children’s lives, specifically in general activities, school activities, limit-setting, and religious activities.||Data from multiple sources examined.|
|Cabrera, N.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Bradley, R.H., Hofferth, S., and M.E. Lamb. 2000. "Fatherhood in the Twenty-First Century." Child Development 71(1): 127-136.||This literature review discusses the impact of four important social trends — women's increased labor force participation, increased absence of nonresidential fathers from their children's lives, increased involvement of fathers in intact families, and cultural diversity in the U.S.||Literature review|
|Cochran, D.L. 1997. "African American Fathers: A Decade Review of the Literature." Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 78(4): 340-351.||Identifies articles on African American fathers and limitations and gaps in the literature. The review suggests that significant contributions have been made in the past decade. A section on research is devoted to theory, methodology and directions for future studies.||Literature review|
|Davis, J.E., and W.E. Perkins. 1996. Fathers' Care: A Review of the Literature. National Center on Fathers and Families.||Extensive literature review on fatherhood. Sections include fathers' care activities, father status in families, young unwed fathers, and diversity in father care experiences.||Literature review|
|De Luccie, M. F. 1995. "Mothers as Gatekeepers: A Model of Maternal Mediators of Father Involvement." The Journal of Genetic Psychology 156(1): 115-131.||This study examined whether maternal characteristics mediate the frequency of father involvement with children in intact families. Questionnaires were administered to assess several variables and maternal mediators. Results supported the hypothesis indicating that 79% of the variation of mothers’ reports of frequency of father involvement was explained directly by the maternal mediators, marital satisfaction, and age of child.||1.Modified version of Klein’s (1983) Frequency of Participation Scale was used to measure frequency of involvement and importance of and satisfaction with father involvement.
2. Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale (Schumm et al., 1986) was used to measure satisfaction with marriage, social support, and employment status.
3. Crowne-Marlowe Social Desirability Scale (Campbell, Converse, & Rodgers, 1976) used to measure social desirability.
|Dubowitz, H., Black, M.M., Cox, C.E., Kerr, M.A., Litrownik, A.J., Radhakrishna, A., English, D.J., Schneider, M.W., and D.K. Runyan. 2001. “Father Involvement and Children’s Functioning at Age 6 Years: A Multisite Study.” Child Maltreatment 6(4): 300-309.||Father presence is associated with better cognitive development and greater perceived competence by the children. Also associated with fewer depressive symptoms.||Original research.|
|Halle, T., Moore, K., Greene, A., and S. LeMenestrel. 1998. “What Policymakers Need to Know About Fathers.” Policy and Practice 56(3): 21-35.||Reviews research and policy on father involvement. Sections on defining father involvement including accessibility, engagement, and responsibility; whether father involvement matters to children, and whether it matters if children live with their fathers. Provides sections on factors that keep men from being involved fathers—socioeconomic, educational, geographic and transportation, timing of parenting, and mother-father relationship, and when father involvement is not a good idea. Policy implications are discussed.||Review of policy and research|
|Hamer, J., and K. Marchioro. 2002. “Becoming Custodial Dads: Exploring Parenting Among Low-Income and Working-Class African American Fathers.” Journal of Marriage and Family 64(1): 116-129.||Examines the transition of working class and low income fathers from part time to full time parents, and the role of support networks in enhancing or inhibiting these men’s parenting. Findings suggest that these men generally become parents by default and are often reluctant to take on a full-time, single parenting role. Some fathers accepted responsibility for the child following child welfare contact due to removal of the child from the mother’s home. Some were sought as an alternative custody arrangement for the child by social service workers. Use of extended kin supports networks and shared living arrangements was found to enhance adaptation to this role. Low wages, a lack of sufficient assistance from public assistance programs, and informal custody arrangements often inhibit their fathering.||Interviews with 24 African American men from an impoverished Midwestern urban area. Survey is not included in the article.|
|Hans, S., Ray, A., Berstein, V., and R. Halpern. 1995. “Caregiving in the Inner City.” A Final Report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Chicago: University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry, Unit for Research in Child Psychiatry and Development.||A study which addresses the caregiving context experienced by children living in poor urban areas. Attempts to identify caregivers, patterns of roles/relationships among caregivers, and roles/relationships between caregivers and children.||Interviews with mothers of families living in Grand Boulevard and surrounding communities on Chicago’s South Side. Original Study|
|Hawkins, A.J., and D.J. Eggebeen. 1991. “Are Fathers Fungible? Patterns of Coresident Adult Men in Maritally Disrupted Families and Child Well-Being.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53(4): 958-972.||Examines the current debate on the role of fathers in child well-being. No difference found in verbal-intellectual functioning among children in intact versus disrupted families. Few differences found on psychosocial dysfunction. Author concludes that this information may lend support to the argument that fathers are peripheral to young children’s intellectual and psychosocial functioning.||NLSY; Verbal intellectual functioning-PPVT-R; Psychosocial dysfunctioning-Behavior Problems Index, child temperament; Tools are not included in this study. Original study|
|Heath, D.T., and P.C. McKenry. 1993. "Adult Family Life of Men Who Fathered as Adolescents.” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 74(1): 36-45.||Men who fathered as teens experienced similar levels of marital satisfaction, and reported greater parental satisfaction than the comparison group members.||Data from the National Survey of Families and Households were used to investigate the family life of 227 men who fathered children when they were adolescents. The comparison group consisted of 1,032 men who fathered children in their twenties.|
|Hein, J.F. 1999. “The Father Factor.” American Outlook Magazine.||Examines the fatherhood movement in the context of the marriage agenda, social costs, and federal involvement.|
|Jeffries, J.M., Menghraj, S., and C.F. Hairston. 2001. “Serving Incarcerated and Ex-Offender Fathers and Their Families.” Prepared for U.S. Department of Justice and the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation.||A compilation of resources on incarcerated fathers and their families. Includes information on programs, contacts, and publications related to this topic.|
|Johnson, D.J. 1996. Father Presence Matters: A Review of the Literature. National Center on Fathers and Families.||Extensive literature review on fathering and child outcomes. Sections include father-absence paradigm-development and child outcomes; single-parent paradigm, poverty and socialization; divorce, an alternative single parent paradigm; father care, beyond family structure; and father presence, toward linking father-specific parenting with child outcomes. Author finds that as a paradigm, father absence is a severely flawed construction of father roles, family functioning, and child outcomes, sorely limited by its emphasis on physical locale and contact patterns of biological fathers. Fiscal support and fulfillment of the provider role by males have the typical effect of lifting children out of or preventing their descent into poverty. The literature suggests that family structure does determine father contribution, and father contact is enormously affected by family structure.||Literature review|
|Kandel, D.B. 1990. “Parenting Styles, Drug Use, and Children’s Adjustment in Families of Young Adults.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 52(1): 183-196.||Examines parental styles/behaviors in relation to adjustment of children. Increased problems with child adjustment/behaviors appear to result from parental use of punitive discipline, disagreement among spouses on discipline, maternal drug use, etc.||Longitudinal study based on Structured Interviews with young adults tracked from ages 15-16 to 28-29. Use of Parenting Scale and child behavior scales; Measures of Parental Drug Behavior (tools were not included). Original study.|
|Marsiglio, W., Amato, P., Day, R.D., and M.E. Lamb. 2000. “Scholarship on Fatherhood in the 1990s and Beyond.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62(4): 1173-1191.||A complete review of literature on fatherhood — historical perspectives, conceptual and theoretical perspectives, methodological issues, national surveys and fathering measures, measurement issues, demographic and cultural diversity, father involvement and child outcomes (economic support, father-child relationship in both two parent and with non-resident fathers), and future directions.||Literature review|
|McAdoo, J.L. 1993. “The Roles of African American Fathers: An Ecological Perspective.” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 74(1): 28-35.||Provides a theoretical perspective for understanding the roles African American fathers play in their families. Provider role, decision-making role, child-socializing role, and marital roles are discussed.|
|McLanahan, S.S., and M.J. Carlson. 2002. “Welfare Reform, Fertility, and Father Involvement.” The Future of Children 12(1): 147-165.||This article focuses on the important role that fathers play in children’s lives and how public policies have affected childbearing and father involvement. Children living in father-absent families often have fewer economic and socioemotional resources and do not fare as well on many outcome measurements. Efforts encouraging father involvement have yielded generally disappointing results, however, new research suggests targeting programs at the time of a child’s birth. Also reviews programmatic information on how to reduce the number of father absent families and increase father involvement.|
|National Center for Education Statistics. 1997. “Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools: National Household Education Survey.” U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Statistical Analysis Report NCES 98-091.||Examines the extent to which resident and nonresident fathers are involved in their children’s schools and how their involvement influences their children’s performance in school. Findings suggest that in two-parent families, fathers are much less likely than mothers (of two-parent families) to be highly involved in their children’s schools. Fathers heading single-parent families more closely resemble mothers heading single-parent families. The study also examines how involvement varies by age of the child, association of parental involvement in schools with other parental behaviors, linkage to school outcomes, etc. This information is collected on both resident and nonresident fathers.||Data collected from the National Household Education Survey.|
|Nock, S.L. 1998. “The Consequences of Premarital Fatherhood.” American Sociological Review 63(2): 250-263.||Hazards models and fixed-effects analyses suggest that men who have children before marriage leave school earlier, have lower earnings, work fewer weeks per year, and are more likely to live in poverty compared to men who did not father children outside of marriage.||Use of the first 15 years of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the socioeconomic consequences of premarital fatherhood.|
|Silverstein, L. B., and C.F. Auerbach. 1999. “Deconstructing the Essential Father.” American Psychologist 54 (6): 397-407.||Using a wide range of cross-species, cross-cultural, and social science research, the authors challenge the claim that fathers are essential to positive child development and that responsible fathering is most likely to occur within the context of heterosexual marriage.||Analysis of existing research.|
|Smith, L.A. 1988. “Black Adolescent Fathers: Issues for Service Provision.” National Association of Social Workers, Inc. 33(3): 269-271.||Examines black adolescent males as a hard to reach group and an at-risk population. The social history relevant to fatherhood in this population is examined. The author seeks to promote an understanding of the needs of this group and provides implications for practice.|
|Sullivan, M. 1998. Uses of Qualitative Research in Identifying and Measuring Outcomes of Responsible Fathering. National Center on Fathers and Families.||Commentary on the ways in which qualitative research can inform the assessment of fatherhood programs.|
|Yeung, W.J., Sandberg, J.F., Davis-Kean, P.E., and S. Hofferth. 1999. “Children’s Time with Fathers in Intact Families,” University of Michigan.||Examines father involvement with children among intact families by measuring time spent together. Findings suggest that father involvement continues to increase from the levels found in the past 3 decades. Ethnic differences relative to involvement were examined.||Original study using the 1997 Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (Hofferth, 1998)|
|Parenting: Non-Resident Fathers|
|Amato, P.R., and J.G. Gilbreth. 1999. “Nonresident Fathers and Children’s Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61(3): 557-573.||Meta-analytic methods to pool information from 63 studies dealing with nonresident fathers and children’s well being. Fathers’ payment of child support positively associated with measures of children’s well-being. Frequency of contact was not related to child outcomes in general.|
|Carlson, M.J., and S.S. McLanahan. 2001. Father Involvement in Fragile Families. Princeton University, Center for Research on Child Well-Being, Working Paper #01-08-FF.||Provides detailed information about the characteristics of fathers, nature of relationships between unmarried mothers and fathers, and the extent of father involvement. Baseline interviews with 1,286 unmarried fathers involved shortly after their child’s birth. Findings affirm importance of provider role in facilitating fathers’ overall involvement and support the centrality of the mother-father relationship for understanding fathers’ contributions to their children.||Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, study|
|Carlson, M.J, and S.S. McLanahan. 2001. Fragile Families, Father Involvement, and Public Policy. Princeton University.||Preliminary copy of study presenting data from Fragile Families survey. Reviews literature on the importance of father’s involvement, father roles/contributions, public policy/child support enforcement, etc.||Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, study|
|Danzinger, S., and N. Radin. 1990. “Absent Does Not Equal Uninvolved: Predictors of Fathering in Teen Mother Families.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 52(3): 636-642.||Surveyed adolescent teen welfare recipients to investigate the effects of predictors of father-child relations in teen mother families with nonresident fathers. Results indicate that the work behavior of absent fathers had a significant direct effect on participation in childrearing and that minority mothers reported higher rates of paternal involvement.||Telephone surveys Describes father involvement measures. Original study.|
|Fragile Families Research Brief. 2000. Dispelling Myths about Unmarried Fathers. Princeton University, Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Columbia University, Social Indicators Survey Center, Report No. 1.||Presents data from the first 7 cities (20 in total) in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.|
|Furstenberg, F.F., Morgan, S.P., and P.D. Allison. 1987. “Paternal Participation and Children’s Well-Being After Marital Dissolution.” American Sociological Review 52(5): 695-701.||This article examines the influence of paternal involvement on child’s well-being among children who had experienced their parents’ marital dissolution. Results indicate for academic difficulty, problem behavior, and psychological distress, there is little evidence that paternal involvement has either harmful or beneficial effects. Paternal economic support reduced somewhat the likelihood of problem behavior. No consistent pattern on child well-being in relation to visitation and closeness of relationship.||National Survey of Children (NSC)-panel study. Well-being Scales of children are included in appendix. Original study.|
|Gadsen, V. L. 1995. The Absence of Father: Effects on Children’s Development and Family Functioning. University of Pennsylvania, National Center on Fathers and Families.||A review of literature on the effect of father absence on children’s development and family functioning. Review includes sections on cultural contexts, social need, and functioning; nature of social need in young, female-headed households; effects of father absence on family adjustment; economic effects and stress; poverty and single-parent homes; developmental and social issues; and self-esteem, emotional development, and academic achievement.||Literature review.|
|Hairston, C.F. 1998. “The Forgotten Parent: Understanding the Forces that Influence Incarcerated Fathers’ Relationship with Their Children.” Child Welfare 77(5): 671-693.||Examination of issues concerning designing policies and providing services that promote the maintenance of parent-child bonds and responsible parenting when fathers are incarcerated.|
|Hamer, J.F. 1997. “The Fathers of “Fatherless” Black Children.” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 78(6): 564-578.||Provides information on how the fathers’ perspective on the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood contrasts sharply with that of the dominant culture.||Qualitative data from 38 adult Black noncustodial fathers|
|Jackson, A. 1999. “The Effects of Nonresident Father Involvement on Single Black Mothers and Their Young Children.” Social Work 44 (2): 156-166.||Examined the influence of non-resident fathers on the well-being and development of 188 low-income, employed and unemployed single black mothers and their 3 and 4 year old children. Mothers employment status affects both their depression symptoms and parental stress as well as need for non-resident fathers’ support. Non-resident fathers seemed to be less important in the lives of employed mothers but the mothers with boys predicted greater parental stress. Employed mothers reported fewer child problem behaviors when the father was present in the child’s life.||Used data from an ongoing study of current and former welfare recipients.|
|Johnson, W.E. 2001. “Paternal Involvement Among Unwed Fathers.” Child and Youth Services Review 23 (6/7): 513-536.||Findings include the overwhelming majority of unwed fathers are highly involved, though in general paternal intentions are higher than paternal behaviors. Non-resident fathers are less involved than resident fathers and mothers reported fewer nonresident fathers provided financial support during pregnancy.||Reports findings from a baseline analysis of data from the national FFCW survey of a total of 1780 unmarried mothers.|
|King, V. 1994. “Variation in the Consequences of Nonresident Father Involvement for Children’s Well-Being.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 56(4): 963-972.||Looks at what factors influence the effects of nonresident father involvement on child well-being. Results show few interactive results and no identifiable set of conditions emerged that increased or reduced the importance of father involvement for child well-being.||NLSY data. Original study|
|Knox, V., and C. Redcross. 2000. Parenting and Providing: The Impact of Parents’ Fair Share on Paternal Involvement. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.||Study looks at how the Parents Fair Share Program effects paternal involvement. Results indicate that PFS program participants were more likely to provide formal child support and engage in active parenting than non-participants. It did not seem to impact informal support or level of contact.||Custodial Parent Survey, Non Custodial Parent Survey, Child Support Enforcement Payment Records, MDRC’s Baseline information form. These measures are not included in the report. Original Research|
|Koball, H.L., and D. Principe. 2002. Do Nonresident Fathers Who Pay Child Support Visit Their Children More? Washington DC: The Urban Institute.||Poor children are much less likely to live with their fathers and visit nonresident fathers as compared to higher income children. Fathers with support orders and those who pay on these orders are more likely to visit their children. The level of visitation did not rise following increased child support enforcement. Children born out of wedlock were more likely to visit their fathers after PRWORA was enacted.||1999 National Survey of America’s Families Original Research|
|Lerman, R., and E. Sorenson. 2000. “Father Involvement With Their Non-Marital Children: Patterns, Determinants, and Effects on Their Earnings.” Fatherhood: Research, Interventions and Policies. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.||Reviews patterns of father involvement with their non-marital children over time and finds, in initial year after a non-marital birth, 75 percent of fathers were either living with their child or visiting at least once a week. However, eight years after the birth, the proportion had dropped to about 50 percent. Moreover, one in three fathers of non-marital children were disconnected from the child and rarely visited at six years after the birth.|
|Lin, I., and S.S. McLanahan. 2001. “Norms about Nonresident Fathers’ Obligations and Rights.” Children and Youth Services Review 23 (6/7): 485-512.||Using a survey of parents who just had a new baby, study finds that new parents are generally not opposed to the idea that fathers should have child support obligations and rights to see their child and make decisions about how their child is raised. The study found few disagreements among couples about child support obligations and visitation or decision-making rights. However, this is affected by parents’ relationship status. Couples whose romantic relationships had ended had more disagreements over visitation and decision-making.||Study looks at fathers’ attitudes rather than actual behavior. Support obligation question referred to financial support in general, not child support ordered by the court.|
|Malkin, C. M. and M.E. Lamb. 1994. “Child Maltreatment: A Test of Socio-biological Theory,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 25(1): 121-130.||Study found, among other things, that children growing up in father absent homes are especially likely to experience violence and be victims of child abuse and neglect.|
|Manning, W.D., Stewart, S.D., and P.J. Smock. 2001.“The Complexity of Fathers’ Parenting Responsibilities and Involvement with Nonresident Children.” University of Michigan, Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research, Report No. 01-478.||Describes the complexity of nonresident fathers’ parenting circumstances and assess whether and how parenting configurations are associated with their involvement with nonresident children. Findings include the complex nature of nonresident fathers parenting obligations within and outside their current residences (half of nonresident fathers have parenting responsibilities beyond single set of nonresident children, nearly 75% who are remarried or cohabiting face potential obligations to other children) may result in less economic support and visitation with nonresident children.||Data from 1987-88 wave of National Survey of Families and Households|
|Martinez, J.M., and C. Miller. 2000. “The Effects of Parents Fair Share on the Employment and Earnings of Low-Income, Noncustodial Fathers,” Focus, 21(1), University of Wisconsin-Madison: Institute for Research on Poverty.||Descriptive information from Parents’ Fair Share found that poor non-custodial fathers face severe employment barriers, including limited education, limited work experience, criminal records, housing instability, and poor health. PFS demos found that nearly 70 percent of participants had a criminal record and nearly a third had been arrested and charged with a crime during their participation in the program.|
|Martinez, J., and C. Miller. 2000. Working and Earning: The Impact of Parents’ Fair Share on Low-Income Fathers’ Employment. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.||Looks at how PFS has effected employment and earnings. Examines low-income noncustodial fathers.||Data from Unemployment Insurance (administrative) and survey data. Tools are not included. Original study.|
|McLanahan, S.S., Garfinkel, I., Brooks-Gunn, J., Zhao, H., Johnson, W., Rich, L., Turner, M., Waller, M., and M. Wilson. 1998. Unwed Fathers and Fragile Families. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University, Working Paper #98-12.||Uses mothers’ reports in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to examine level and stability of children’s involvement with unwed fathers during first few years after birth. Found high levels of involvement and stability of fathers’ involvement among these children.||NLSY data.|
|McLanahan, S.S., Garfinkel, I., Reichman, N., and J. Teitler. Unwed Parents or Fragile Families? Implications for Welfare and Child Support Policy. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University, Working Paper #00-04.||Using baseline data from new parents in seven cities, parent relationships, capabilities of unwed parents, and how to address fathers’ low earnings capacity. Findings include the fact that most unwed parents view themselves as families, over 90% of mothers want the father to be involved in raising the child.|
|McLanahan, S., and G. Sandefur. 1994. Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.||Discusses how the reduction in parental/household/community (economic, social, etc.) resources following divorce impacts child well-being. Suggests that school achievement, labor force attachment, and age of childbearing are impacted negatively.|
|Miller, C., & Knox, V. 2001. The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons from Parents’ Fair Share. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.||Generally, fathers were very disadvantaged, however, PFS increased employment and earnings for the least-employable men but not for those more able to find work on their own. PFS encouraged some fathers, primarily those least involved initially to take a more active parenting role. Many had regular visitation but few had legal visitation agreements. Some mothers were found to act as gate-keepers, restricting fathers’ access to children. Men referred to PFS paid more child support than those in the control group.||Data from Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration Project|
|Minton, C., and K. Pasley. 1996. “Fathers’ Parenting Role Identity and Father Involvement: A Comparison of Nondivorced and Divorced, Nonresident Fathers.” Journal of Family Issues 17 (1), 26-45.||Explored fathers’ parenting role identity in nondivorced and divorced, nonresident fathers and the relationship between role identity and involvement in child-related activities. One of findings suggests that regardless of whether fathers reside with their children they report they are equally invested in being a father.||Data collected from 270 fathers (178 nondivorced and 92 divorced) through mail questionnaire|
|Mott, F.L. 1990. “When Is a Father Really Gone? Paternal-Child Contact in Father-Absent Homes.” Demography 27(4): 499-517.||Examines the dynamics of father’s absence during a child’s first few years of life. Documents the extent to which substantial proportions of children born to younger mothers never have had a biological father residing in the home, “net” levels of fathers’ absence at various postbirth points mask significant “gross” flows of fathers in and out of the household, and large proportions of children in homes lacking a biological father have potentially significant contact with absent fathers or new father figures.||Using data from the 1979-1986 rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth (NLSY)|
|Mumola, C.J. 2000. Incarcerated Parents and Their Children. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, NCJ 182335.||Presents data from the 1997 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. Presents data on the percent of prisoners who were parents, living arrangements of children prior to the parent’s incarceration, and data on contact prisoners have with their children.||Uses data from 1997 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities.|
|Nelson, T.J., Edin, K. and S. Clampet-Lundquist. 2001. “Fragile Fatherhood: How Low-Income, Non-Custodial
Fathers in Philadelphia Talk about their Families.” In The Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, edited by C. Tamis-LeMonda and N. Cabrera. Northwestern University, Institute for Policy Research.
|Authors discuss how study population construct the fathering role and examine three aspects of father involvement— how relationships (primarily with child’s mother) shape father involvement, how involvement is constrained by illegal activities, labor market inequalities, and the child support system, and how fathers “do the best they can” within these constraints.||Data from open-ended interviews with 70 low-income, noncustodial fathers|
|Nord, C., and N. Zill. 1996. Non-Custodial Parents’ Participation in Their Children’s Lives: Evidence from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.||Provides information on custody arrangements, non-custodial parent participation, and family structure. Reviews the role of the father and child development. Large section devoted to the ways in which family structure may affect children’s lives. Includes an annotated bibliography and traditional bibliography on issues of child support, fathers, families, etc.||None.|
|Perloff, J.N., and J.C. Buckner. 1996. “Fathers of Children on Welfare: Their Impact on Child Well-Being,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 66(4): 557-571.||Study presents evidence suggesting there is considerable father-child contact. Multivariate modeling indicates that contact with fathers had a modest beneficial effect on children’s behavior. Negative traits of fathers—substance abuse, physical violence— appear to be associated with increased child behavior problems.||A case-control study in Worcester, Massachusetts.|
|Rasheed, J.M. 1999. “Obstacles to the Role of Inner-City, Low-Income, Noncustodial African American Fathers.” Journal of African American Men 4(1): 9-23.||Policies and gendered-obstacles that affect the paternal role function of inner-city, low-income noncustodial African American fathers are examined.||Policy review|
|Ray, A., and S. Hans. 2001. “Low-Income African-American Fathers’ Involvement in Caring for Toddlers.” (Draft). University of Chicago, Erikson Institute for Graduate Study in Child Development.||A study of paternal care yielded results indicating that low-income noncustodial fathers frequently play a role in various aspects of caregiving and are involved with their children. 64% of fathers saw the toddler at least one day of the week and 47% of fathers provided solo care to the toddler.||Parental Caregiving Roles Scale (Ray, 1998) Other interview questions also utilized. Instrument is not included however measured items are listed in the appendix. Original Study|
|Schaeffer, N.C., Seltzer, J.A., and J. Dykema. 1998. Methodological and Theoretical Issues in Studying Nonresident Fathers: A Selective Review. National Center on Fathers and Families.||Examination of issues raised by using survey data to study contemporary families in a way that includes fathers and mothers. Principal household studies discussed include Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, National Survey of Families and Households, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and Panel Study of Income Dynamics.|
|Seltzer, J.A. 1991. “Relationships Between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father’s Role After Separation.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53(1): 79-101.||Describes three components of nonresident fathers involvement with children— social contact, economic involvement, and participation in childrearing decisions. Fathers who visit are more likely to pay child support and influence childrearing decisions.||Data from 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households.|
|Seltzer, J.A. 1998. “Father by Law: Effects of Joint Legal Custody on Nonresident Fathers’ Involvement with Children.” Demography 35(2): 135-146.||Examines relationship between joint legal custody and nonresident fathers’ contributions, frequency of visits and child support payments. Findings support view that joint legal custody may encourage some aspects of paternal involvement after divorce.||Data from the National Survey of Families and Households (1987-88 and 1992-94)|
|Simons, R.L., Whitbeck, L.B., Beaman, J., and R.D. Conger. 1994. “The Impact of Mothers’ Parenting, Involvement by Nonresidential Fathers, and Parental Conflict on the Adjustment of Adolescent Children.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 56(2): 356-374.||Studies looks at the relationship between quality of parenting by nonresidential fathers/mothers and child externalizing/internalizing problems. Results are provided separately by gender of child. Also examines relationship between these problems and father involvement.||Panel data-207 divorces women and their children; 10-item self report measure on externalizing problems; SCL-90-R for Internalizing problems; measures on custodial mother’s parenting; Nonresidential fathers parenting (this measure is included in study); contact with father (question included); parental conflict (included); family income; child support payments (question included). Original study|
|Sorenson, E. 1997. “Nonresident Fathers: What We Know and What’s Left to Learn.” The Urban Institute, Prepared for the NICHD Workshop. Washington, DC, January 16-17.||Provides review of how nonresident fathers are identified in national surveys; what we know about the fathers identified in these surveys; why nonresident fathers are underrepresented in national surveys; and future research efforts.||Review of results of national survey data.|
|Sorenson, E. 1999. Obligating Dads: Helping Low-Income Noncustodial Fathers Do More For Their Children. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.||Provides a demographic profile of noncustodial fathers. Examines how the current child support system interacts with low-income noncustodial fathers. Provides recommendations on ways in which to optimize current legislation and practices to promote financial responsibility among noncustodial fathers.|
|Sorensen, E., Mincy, R., and A. Halpern. 2000. “Redirecting Welfare Policy Toward Building Strong Families.” Strengthening Families. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.||Summarizes recent literature on fragile families and reports that fathers are not necessarily absent from children born outside of marriage. Finds that 44 percent of fathers were living with non-marital children at the time of birth and another 38 percent were involved romantically with their child’s mother. Of all poor children under the age of two who were born outside of marriage, 35 percent lived with their mothers and saw their fathers at least weekly.|
|Stewart, S.D. 1999. “Disneyland Dads, Disneyland Moms? How Nonresident Parents Spend Time with Absent Children.” Journal of Family Issues 20(4): 539-556.||Examines gender differences in how nonresident parents spend time with their absent children. Results suggest that nonresident mothers and fathers exhibit a similar pattern of participation in activities with absent children. Most parents either engage in only leisure activities with their children or have no contact. Only one-third mention school among activities they participate in with children.||Data from 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households|
|Stewart, S.D. 1999. “Nonresident Mothers’ and Fathers’ Social Contact with Children.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61(4): 894-907.||Assessment of social contact using nonresident parents’ own reports. Investigation of sex differences in nonresident parents’ level of contact with biological children with whom they do not live.||Data from the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households|
|Teitler, J.O. 2001. “Father Involvement, Child Health and Maternal Health Behavior.” Children and Youth Services Review 23(4/5): 403-425.||Examines the level and effects of father-involvement on child’s birth weight and mother’s health behavior during pregnancy. Findings indicate that most fathers, including those that are unwed, are involved with children at birth and intend to remain involved. Effects of father involvement vary based on which construct is measured and are inconclusive regarding the effect of father involvement on birth outcomes .||Baseline data from Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study|
|Travis, J., Solomon, A.L., and M. Waul. 2001. From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.||Summarizes results of the first “Reentry Roundtable” in October 2000. Chapter on implications of prisoner reentry for families and communities. Presents data on percent of prisoners who are parents and where their children are living.|
|Waller, M.R. 2001. “Unmarried Parents, Fragile Families: New Evidence from Oakland.” Public Policy Institute of California.||Report investigates factors that support and discourage efforts on the part of unmarried parents to form stable relationships, including marriage.||Focuses on 250 families in Oakland who participated in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) survey.|
|Furstenberg, F.F. 1995. “Dealing with dads: The Changing Roles of Fathers” In “Escape from Poverty: What makes a Difference for Children?”, edited by P.L Chase-Lansdale and J. Brooks-Gunn. New York: Cambridge University Press.||Examines fathers in the context of marriage and child-bearing. Also looks at the role of child support in family structure, well-being etc.|
|Lipscomb, A. 2001. The Legislative Marriage Agenda and its Potential Meaning for Programs Serving Low-Income Families. Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy.||Examines fatherhood in the context of recent legislation. Discusses the impact of the “marriage agenda” on fatherhood programs and funding.|
|Sawhill, I. 2001. Welfare Reform and the Marriage Movement. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.||Commentary on recent conservative pro-marriage movement and a review of strategies for reducing the growth of single parent families.|
|Aizpuru, R. 1999. “Protecting the Unwed Fathers’ Opportunity to Parent: A Survey of Paternity Registry Statutes.” The Review of Litigation 18(3): 703-32.||Reviews the history of case law regarding unwed fathers. Additionally, discusses the operation of paternal registries, how they work, implications, etc. Provides information on some individual states and their paternal registries. An outline of options for setting up a paternal registry.|
|Alton, K. 2000. “Foster Care and Adoption: Casenote: In re Adoption of Kelsey S.” Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 11: 547-53.||Review of case law. Examines how recent case rulings have reflected previous rulings.|
|Burns, J.E. 2000. “Should Marriage Matter?: Evaluating the Rights of Legal Absentee Fathers.” Fordham Law Review 68(6): 2299-2349.||A review of case law (rights of unwed fathers) in relation to child protection, foster care, ASFA, etc.|
|Crippen, G. 1990. “Stumbling Beyond Best Interests of the Child: Reexamining Child Custody Standard-Setting in the Wake of Minnesota’s Four Year Experiment with the Primary Caretaker Preference.” Minnesota Law Review 75: 427-503.||Provides an overview of case law and judicial opinions in reference to Minnesota’s policy on utilizing “primary caretaker preference” in making custody decisions. Primary caretaker preference means that that court considers the child’s primary caretaker to be a firm preference when making decisions on placement of the child.|
|Dapolito, A.R. 1993. “The Failure to Notify Putative Fathers of Adoption Proceedings: Balancing the Adoption Equation.” Catholic University Law Review 42: 979-1026.||Discusses the notification of putative fathers in regards to adoption proceedings. Father registries are discussed as a means of avoiding judicial dilemmas. The implementation of these registries is discussed.|
|Eveleigh, L.J. 1989. “Certainly not Child’s Play: A Serious Game of Hide and Seek with the Rights of Unwed Fathers.” Syracuse Law Review 40: 1055-1088.||Reviews court rulings related to unwed fathers and child custody. Discusses how the rights of fathers have been furthered by these rulings, but also examines limitations that currently exist related to unwed fathers and custody rights.|
|Gustafson, J.B. 1993. “The Natural Father, I Presume: The Natural Father’s Rights versus the Best Interests of the Child.” San Diego Justice Journal 1: 489-501.||Examines the rights of unwed fathers in the context of adoption. Historically, the “alleged” fathers rights could be terminated on the basis of the best interests of the child. Current legislation states that any father that is a capable parent and comes forward promptly with a desire to raise his child who was relinquished for adoption, becomes a presumed father by the act of coming forward and offering a home. The court now considers only the father’s conduct in making decisions regarding custody. Preference is given to parents over non-parents.|
|Kastner, C.R., and L.R. Young. 1981. “In the Best Interest of the Child: A Guide to State Child Support and Paternity Laws.” Washington, D.C.: National Conference of State Legislatures.||This document is outdated but may contain helpful information on laws related to paternity establishment in the United States. State by State review.||Synthesis|
|Martin, R.W. 1983. “A Legal Assistance Symposium—Legal Rights of the Unwed Father.” Military Law Review 102: 3-190.||Discusses the constitutional recognition of the role of unwed fathers. Examines the way in which this affects specific rights, including adoption, custody, visitation, etc.|
|Melli, M.S. 1992. A Brief History of the Legal Structure for Paternity Establishment in the United States. University of Wisconsin-Madison.||Provides an overview of the historical origins of paternity establishment in the US.||Historical synthesis|
|Meyer, D.R. 1992. “Paternity and Public Policy.” Focus, 14 (2), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty.||Provides data on the increasing numbers of out-of-wedlock births. Overviews the historical trends of paternity establishment. Discusses the weakness of national data on paternity establishment as well as the correlates of success and failure in paternity establishment.|
|National Conference of State Legislatures, Paternity Establishment Tables and Information.||Provides state by state data on paternity establishment practices, 11/99|
|National Fatherhood Initiative. 2000. “Federal Legislation Promoting Responsible Fatherhood.” http://www.in.gov/fssa/fathers/docs/Federal%20Fatherhood%20Legislation.doc||Reviews recent fatherhood legislation and guidelines for legislation.|
|National Women’s Law Center/Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy. 2000. “Family Ties: Improving Paternity Establishment Practices and Procedures for Low-Income Mothers, Fathers and Children.” Same as author.||Examines paternity establishment before and after PRWORA. Reviews paternity establishment from the perspective of the families involved.|
|Nichols-Casebolt, A. 1988. “Paternity Adjudication: In the Best Interests of the Out-of-Wedlock Child.” Child Welfare 67(3): 245-254.||Discusses the benefits of a legal parent-child relationship in the context of increasing out-of-wedlock births. Provides an overview of ways to improve father-based practice in child welfare agencies.|
|Nichols-Casebolt, A. and I. Garfinkel. 1991. “Trends in Paternity Adjudications and Child Support Awards.” Social Science Quarterly 72 (1): 83-97.||Examines the role of public policy in effecting change regarding the number of paternity adjudications/child support orders per year. Ratios of paternity adjudications to nonmarital births are provided for all states 1979-1986. While increases in the number of paternity adjudications and child support awards were found, the author notes that there are still large numbers of children without adjudicated fathers.|
|Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Best Practices www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/rpt/bppat.htm||Reviews state by state practices in regards to legislation/paternity establishment.|
|Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services. (8 Reports on Paternity Establishment, 1997-2000).||Reviews the variations in state practices regarding paternity establishment including:
1. Use of voluntary paternity acknowledgements (OEI-06-98-0053)
2. Administrative and Judicial Methods (OEI-06-98-0050)
3. The role of vital records agencies (OEI-06-98-0055)
4. Payment to vital records agencies (OEI-06-98-0056)
5. State use of genetic testing (OEI-06-98-0054)
6. Use of alternative sites for voluntary paternity acknowledgement (OEI-06-98-0052)
7. Notification of rights/responsibilities for voluntary paternity acknowledgement (OEI-06-98-0051)
8. In-hospital voluntary paternity acknowledgement programs (OEI-06-95-00160)
|Pearson, J., and N. Thoennes. 1995. “The Child Support Improvement Project: Paternity Establishment.” Center for Policy Research.||In hospital paternity interventions can produce dramatic increases in the voluntary paternity acknowledgement rate. Discusses simplifications in the voluntary paternity acknowledgement process. Provides information on the correlates of paternity establishment, paternal participation factors, and financial implications of paternity acknowledgement.||Colorado Dept. of Health Data 1991-examination of patterns in 4 Denver facilities. Survey of Mothers related to paternity establishment is included in the document. Original research|
|Pons-Bunney, J. 1998. “Non-custodial Fathers’ Rights: State’s Lack of Incentives for the Father to Remain in the Child’s Life.” Journal of Juvenile Law 19: 212-235.||Provides information on custody determinations, establishment of paternity, child support, financial incentives etc. Statistics provided on the number of paternity establishments.|
|Smith, P.L. 2000. “The Primary Caretaker Presumption: Have We Been Presuming Too Much?” Indiana Law Journal 75(2): 731-746.||Critically examines the impact of primary caretaker preference on custody decision-making in West Virginia/Minnesota.||Synthesis.|
|Sonenstein, F.L., Holcomb, P.A., and K.S. Seefeldt. 1993. Promising Approaches to Improving Paternity Establishment Rates at the Local Level. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.||Reviews paternity establishment procedures and provides information based on data analysis of the National Survey of Paternity Establishment Procedures. Rates of paternity establishment and promising practices are identified.||Data analysis of the National Survey of Paternity Establishment Procedures. Original study.|
|Thompson, R.A. 1986. “Fathers and the Child’s “Best Interests”: Judicial Decision Making in Custody Disputes” In The Father’s Role: Applied Perspectives, edited by M.E. Lamb. New York: John Wiley & Sons.||Describes the “best interests” standard in judicial decision-making within custody disputes.|
|Wattenberg, E. 1987. “Establishing Paternity for Nonmarital Children” Public Welfare 45(3): 8-13.||Examines the role of policy and practice in paternity adjudication in light of the increasing number of out-of-wedlock births. Provides an overview of the benefits of establishing paternity. Reviews the findings from a study on the Project on Paternity Adjudication and Child Support Obligations of Teenage Parents.|
|Williams, W.C. 1997. “The Paradox of Paternity Establishment: As Rights Go Up, Rates Go Down.” University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy 8: 261-281.||Provides a thorough review of recent legislation that is targeted at nonresident fathers. Also discusses paternity establishment policies in other countries and suggests a model for the United States.|
|Bloom, D., and K. Sherwood. 1994. Matching Opportunities to Obligations: Lessons for Child Support Reform from the Parents’ Fair Share Pilot Phase. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.||Reports on early findings from Parents’ Fair Share demonstration projects that offered intensive services (job search assistance, case management, parenting education, access and visitation, etc.) to low-income, non-custodial fathers. The aim of the demonstrations was to help these fathers attain well-paying jobs, establish paternity and child support orders, pay child support on behalf of their children, and improve their parenting capabilities and practices.|
|Crowell, N. and E. Leeper. 1994. America’s Fathers and Public Policy: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.||Provides an overview of child support enforcement policy, paternity establishment, custody issues/fathers’ rights, as well as programs aimed at increasing father involvement.||Policy and program review|
|Doolittle, F., and S. Lynn. 1998. Working with Low-Income cases: Lessons for the Child Support Enforcement System from Parents’ Fair Share. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.||Provides an overview of the child support enforcement and PFS Intake Process. In depth look at noncustodial parents and enforcement.||Policy and practice review.|
|Garfinkel, I., Gaylin, D.S., Huang, C., and S.S. McLanahan. The Roles of Child Support Enforcement and Welfare in Nonmarital Childbearing. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University, Working Paper #00-06.||Analysis of states’ child support policies over 16 year period and relationship to non-marital births. Study found that strict child support enforcement deters and generous welfare promotes non-marital births. Compared to welfare, the estimated effects of child support enforcement are more robust.||Analysis of observational data of states’ child support enforcement policies for 1980-1996. Uses primarily fixed effects regression models.|
|Garfinkel, I. and S. McLanahan. 1995. “The Effects of Child Support Reform on Child Well-Being” In Escape from poverty: What makes a difference for children?, edited by P.L. Chase-Lansdale and J. Brooks-Gunn.||Examines history of child support in the US and the potential effect of child support reform on child well-being. Provides statistics on the increase of paternity establishments from 1975-1985. Provides a model and proposed evaluation of the effect of child support on child well-being.|
|Garfinkel, I., McLanahan, S., Meyer, D., and J. Seltzer (Eds.). 1988. Fathers Under Fire: The Revolution of Child Support Enforcement. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.||Examines policy in relation to nonresident fathers. How child support enforcement effects fathers and how to assist fathers in access to children and ability to meet obligations.||Some of the studies in the text are original work.|
|Garfinkel, I., McLanahan, S., and P. Robins (Eds.). 1994. Child Support and Child Well-Being. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.||Looks at the interaction between child support and child well-being, policies and payment, assured child support benefits, child outcomes in relation to payment, etc. Ch 2: Promising Approaches to improving paternity establishment rates at the local level.||Some of the studies in the text are original work.|
|Griswold, E.A., Pearson, J., and N. Thoennes. 2000. “New Directions for Child Support Agencies, When Domestic Violence is an Issue.” Policy and Practice 58(1): 29-36.||Discusses the conflicting nature of child support enforcement regulations on identifying fathers and the needs of women that have been subjected to domestic violence by the noncustodial parent. Provides an overview of 3 state efforts and findings (Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota) in screening public assistance applicants for domestic violence.|
|Institute for Research on Poverty. 2000. “Child Support Enforcement Policy and Low-income Families.” Focus 21(1), University of Wisconsin-Madison.||Examines the success of child support enforcement policies and low income families. Provides a useful overview of major changes in federal legislation relevant to child support enforcement from 1975-1998.|
|Knox, V. 1996. “The Effects of Child Support Payments on Developmental Outcomes for Elementary School-Age Children.” The Journal of Human Resources 31(4): 816-840.||Evaluates the effect of child support payments from absent fathers on children’s achievement test scores and home environments. Results indicate that increased child support payments may improve the academic achievement of elementary school-age children more than income from other sources.||NLSY, PIAT (Peabody Individual Achievement Test), HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment)—Some information on tools is provided in appendix. Original research study|
|Lerman, R., and E. Sorenson. 2001. Child Support: Interactions Between Private and Public Transfers. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, Working Paper N. 8199.||Reviews the history of federal and state government efforts to ensure that non-custodial parents improve the provision of financial support to their children, and the interactions between child support enforcement and the cash welfare program for mothers.|
|May, R. 2001. Child Support Policy Concepts and Proposals that will Impact Poor Families. Center on Fathers, Families, and Public Policy.||Discusses bills that would make significant changes to child support policy which were considered but not passed by Congress during the Fall 2000 session. Provides online links to websites which monitor child support policy.|
|Mincy, R.B. and A.T. Dupree. 2001. “Welfare, Child Support and Family Formation.” Children and Youth Services Review 23 (6/7): 577-601.||Data from the first seven cities of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study are examined to test the hypothesis that anti-poverty policies designed for women and children entering poverty after marital dissolution may have adverse effects on young, low-income unwed parents who are beginning, rather than ending, a process of family formation.||Fragile Families study.|
|Norland, C. 2001. Unwed Fathers, the Underground Economy, and Child Support Policy. Fragile Families Research Brief, No. 3.||Baseline data from first seven Fragile Families study cities provide preliminary findings that confirm previous studies’ conclusions that unmarried fathers are able to pay more than they currently pay in child support, and the findings confirm the importance of underground earnings for about 30 percent of the fathers. However, the fact that a substantial portion of income is underground suggests a precarious economic situation for these fathers.||Fragile Families study.|
|Pirog-Good, M., and D.H. Good. 1995. “Child Support Enforcement for Teenage Fathers: Problems and Prospects.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 14(1): 25-42.||Looks at various aspects of the teen father and child support. Provides income profiles for several subgroups of teen fathers.||NLSY (National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experiences-Youth Cohort). Original Study.|
|Rich, L.M. “Regular and Irregular Earnings of Unwed Fathers: Implications for Child Support Practices.” Children and Youth Services Review 23(4/5): 353-376.||Estimates the regular and irregular earnings of unmarried fathers to be $17,000, comparable to previous studies. Indicates that approximately 3 in 10 fathers participate in irregular work activity, and that most of these combine the irregular and regular work sectors. Irregular work earnings are found to increase total income by 20% among fathers reporting informal activity, and by 6% among all unmarried fathers.||Data from the first seven cities of the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study.|
|Sigle-Rushton, W. and I. Garfinkel. 2001. “Welfare, Child Support, and Labor Markets: Are They Related to Father Involvement?” Princeton University, Working Paper.||Reviews economic literature on the effects of welfare, child support enforcement, and labor markets on father non-involvement with children due to divorce, separation, and nonmarital births.||Literature Review|
|Sorensen, E. and A. Halpern. 2000. “Child Support Reforms: Who has Benefitted?” Focus, 21(1), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty.||The article provides information on recent innovations in child support enforcement policies and how these have affected child support receipt among various groups within the population. Data suggests that recent innovations have had a positive effect on child support receipt among all groups of single mothers.|
|Sorensen, E., and M. Turner. 1996. Barriers in Child Support Policy: A Literature Review. National Center on Fathers and Families, LR-SB-96-04.||A literature review of the ways in which institutions and agencies, as well as policy, act as barriers to paternal involvement, particularly for nonresident/minority fathers. Several sections on the establishment of paternity.||Synthesis|
|Sorensen, E., and C. Zibman. 2000. “To What Extent Do Children Benefit From Child Support?” Focus, 21(1), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty||Documents the incidence of our nation’s children with a parent living outside of the household (one-third) and their living arrangements and conditions.|
|Turner, M. Child Support Enforcement and In-hospital Paternity Establishment in Seven Cities. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Working Paper #00-21-FF.||Study assesses the strength of child support enforcement in the seven cities included in the Fragile Families study with a special emphasis on in-hospital paternity establishment. Texas was shown to have a weak CSE compared to a relatively strong in-hospital paternity program in California.||Used qualitative data from Fragile Families Study.|
|United States General Accounting Office. 1993. Child Support Assurance, Effect of Applying State Guidelines to Determine Fathers’ Payments. GAO/HRD-93-26.||Provides details of proposed federal child support assurance program and study objectives include examining the income of young noncustodial fathers and the burden on them of paying the entire minimum assured benefit and illustrating how many of these fathers would be required to pay the minimum assured benefit under typical state child support guidelines.||Used 1988 data from the National Longitudinal Study of the Labor Market Experience of Youth.|
|Waller, M., and R. Plotnick. 2001. “Effective Child Support Policy for Low-Income Families: Evidence from Street Level Research.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 20(1): 89-110.||Discusses the child support system and its failure among many low-income families. Looks at how informal arrangements of support may sometimes be preferable and the reasons for noncompliance with formal support systems.||Synthesis of qualitative research studies.|
|Social Work, Child Welfare, and Fathers|
|Bolton, F.G. 1986. “Today’s Father and the Social Services Delivery System: A False Promise.” In The Father’s Role: Applied Perspectives, edited by M.E. Lamb. New York: John Wiley & Sons.||Discusses the perpetuation of stereotypical roles of fathers in the social services and examines how these stereotypes are currently interfering in service delivery to families.|
|Dailey, D.M. 1980. “Are Social Workers Sexists? A Replication.” Social Work 25: 46-50.||Results indicate that the social worker’s clinical judgements towards males and females are not as significantly different as determined by the original study. In fact, this study provides evidence which supports that social workers are more likely to make anti-female, pro-male judgements.|
|Featherstone, B. 2001. “Putting Fathers on the Child Welfare Agenda, Research Review.” Child and Family Social Work 6(2): 179-186.||Discusses the need for attention on fathers by providing information on the importance of fathers in healthy child development.|
|Fischer, J., Dulaney, D., Fazio, R.T., Hudak, M.T., and E. Zivotofsky. 1976. “Are Social Workers Sexists?” Social Work 21(6): 428-433.||Examines the role of sexism and stereotypical sex-role behavior in the social work and mental health fields. Results indicate a strong pro-female, anti-male bias in social work practice.||A case study depicting identical male and female clients were distributed to case workers. Using a modified inventory developed by Fischer and Miller, clinical judgements from the social workers were obtained.|
|Franck, E.J. 2001. “Outreach to Birthfathers of Children in Out-of-Home Care.” Child Welfare 80(3): 381-399.||Investigated the hypothesis that caseworker activities would demonstrate a preference for birthmothers over birthfathers as targets for outreach and planning efforts. Using a sample of children in out-of-home care, several instruments were used to assess casework outreach to these populations. Results supported the hypothesis.||Instruments included: Casework Activity Scale, Birthparent Response Scale, and Family ties scale.|
|Greif, G.L., and C. Bailey. 1990. “Where are the Fathers in Social Work Literature?” Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services 71(2): 88-92.||Provides a review of social work journals indicating a search of articles revealed only 21 feature articles on fathers between 1961 and 1987. Three common themes identified within the literature written include: fathers as perpetrators, fathers as missing and needed, and fathers as embattled.||Literature review|
|Greif, G.L., and S.J. Zuravin. 1989. “Fathers: A Placement Resource for Abused and Neglected Children?” Child Welfare 68(5): 479-490.||Provides information on how fathers get custody, how situations where fathers get custody differ from those where they do not, and how satisfactory father placements are.||Content analysis of case records for 35 fathers|
|Jaffe, E.D., Lamb, M.E., and A. Sagi (Eds). 1983. Fatherhood and Family Policy. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.||Discusses the disparity between child welfare teachings and actual practice in terms of involvement of the entire family unit, specifically the father. Examines devaluation of the father’s role, female-based service delivery, and caretaking.|
|Kahkonen, P. 1997. “From the Child Welfare Trap to the Foster Care Trap.” Child Welfare 76(3): 429-445.||Analyzed the visibility of mothers, fathers/partners, and children during the placement process. A review of case records revealed that mothers received the most attention, with fathers and children receiving little focus. Contacts with biological families after placement were also minimal.|
|Lagnese, A., and S. Green. 1976. “Discharge Planning in Foster Care Cases Where the Father is the Significant Parent.” Child Welfare 55(9): 612-617.||Provides an overview of father involvement in discharge planning through a review of a case study and an agency survey of father-based cases.||Case study and agency survey of father-based cases.|
|Lamb, M.E. 2001. “Male Roles in Families “at Risk”: The Ecology of Child Maltreatment.” Child Maltreatment, 6(4): 310-313.||Provides an overview of the articles in the special issue on fathers drawing conclusions about the benefits of two-parent families and the risks of father surrogates.||Synthesis|
|Lazar, A., Sagi, A., and M.W. Fraser. 1991. “Involving Fathers in Social Services.” Children and Youth Services Review 13(4): 287-300.||Findings suggest that social service professionals, regardless of gender, are maternally oriented. Gender was found to be a factor in the involvement of fathers in service delivery. Female workers were found to involve fathers less than male workers. A negative correlation between job tenure and time spent with fathers was also found. Involvement of the entire family was influenced by workers exposure to family-related courses, perceived contribution of both sexes to the healthy development of sex roles in children, employment in an agency committed to family involvement, and the ability to work flexible hours.||Only two-parent families in study|
|Leashore, B. R. 1997. “African American Men, Child Welfare, and Permanency Planning,” In The Challenge of Permanency Planning in a Multicultural Society, edited by G.R. Anderson, A.S. Ryan, and B.R. Leashore. New York: The Haworth Press.||Presents the claim that permanency planning process continues to be negligent in its efforts to reach out to African American men. Describes child welfare services as having a perception of African American men that is fearful and stereotyped, often classifying them as insignificant, unavailable, and uninterested in the well-being of their children. Identifies need for culturally competent services in relationship to African American family roles, traditions and historical experiences. Involvement of non-resident fathers as resources in finding placements and reunification is stressed, as well as need for flexibility in scheduling visits between workers and African American fathers.|
|Marshall, D., English, D., and A. Stewart. 2001. “The Effect of Fathers or Father Figures on Child Behavioral Problems in Families Referred to Child Protective Services.” Child Maltreatment 6(4): 290-299.||The association between fathers or father figures and child well-being are weak and relatively unclear.||Original study|
|Nisivoccia, D. 1993. “Caseworkers’ Values and Attitudes in Relation to their Activity with Biological Parents.” The Jewish Social Work Forum 29: 28-43.||Study finds that workers with positive values/attitudes towards biological parents have higher activity rates in terms of attempting to foster reunification.||Values and Attitudes Questionnaire (VAQ)-not included in study. Activity Report Form-w880- not included. Original study|
|O’Donnell, J.M. 1999. “Involvement of African American Fathers in Kinship Foster Care Services.” Social Work 44(5): 428-441.||This article examines the various forms of involvement among African American fathers (in-kind support, emotional support etc.). Results from interviews with caseworkers suggest that low levels of communication with fathers, as well as minimal involvement in service planning and service delivery are present.||Instrument not included in the article.|
|O’Hagan, K. 1997. “The Problem of Engaging Men in Child Protection Work.” The British Journal of Social Work 27(1): 25-42.||Discusses on a theoretical level avoidance strategies engaged in by caseworkers in the child welfare system causing men to be neglected from involvement in case work practice. Provides suggestions on ways to promote caseworker involvement of fathers, training techniques, etc.|
|Radhakrishna, A., Bou-Saada, I., Hunter, W., Catellier, D., and J. Kotch. 2001. “Are Father Surrogates a Risk Factor for Child Maltreatment”, Child Maltreatment 6(4): 281-289.||Using data from North Carolina’s Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect, it was found that the presence of a nonbiological father figure in the home increases the risk of a maltreatment report more than two times above that for families with both biological parents in the home. The risk of maltreatment given the presence of a father surrogate in the home is twice that of female-headed families with no male partner in the home. Discusses the fact that male involvement may not always have positive effects on the children they are living with.||Original Study|
|http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/MT99refs.html||National Center for Children in Poverty: Bibliography for 1999 Map and Track|
|www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/extinf.htm||List of child support enforcement web sites.|
|www.cffpp.org||Center on Fathers, Families and Public Policy|
|www.familysupportamerica.org||Family Support America|
|www.fathers.com||National Center for Fathering|
|www.ncsl.org/statefed/welfare/webresources.htm||National Conference of State Legislatures: List of fatherhood internet resources.|
|www.npcl.org||National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership|
|www.npnff.org||National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families, Inc.: Bibliography, Policy/Legislative review of fatherhood, and contacts for fatherhood programs.|
|www.responsiblefatherhood.org||The Institute for Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization|
|www.welfareinfo.org/fatherho.htm||Welfare Information Network: List of fatherhood references and programs throughout the United States.|
|National Center on Fathers and Families. “The Fathering Indicators Framework: A Tool for Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis.” University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education.||Provides 6 categories of Fathering indicators: Father Presence, Caregiving, Children’s Social Competence/Academic Achievement, Cooperative Parenting, Fathers’ Healthy Living, and Material/Financial Contributions. For each category, indicators are outlined and potential sources of information to measure each of these indicators are provided.|
|Stone, G.S., and Crowe, Chizek and Company, LLP. “Indiana Fathers and Families: Sample Evaluation Tools for Fathers and Families Projects.” http://www.in.gov/fssa/fathers/Sample_Evaluation_Tools.doc||This document contains various measurement tools—some are evaluation measures for a specific programs and others can be used generally to measure father involvement. Tools on paternity establishment, service accessibility, and child support do exist, but most are intended as specific evaluation tools for this project.|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work, Children and Family Research Center.||Included full interviewing tools on the following:
|Committee on Human Resources, Employment and Social Services Policy Studies Division. 1998. “Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: An Update.”||Reviews initiatives to promote responsible fatherhood in states throughout the nation.|
|Delaware Health and Social Services, Child Support Enforcement. 1992. “Delaware Paternity Establishment Pilot Project.”||Pilot project to increase number of paternity establishments. Integration of paternity establishment process and prenatal care educational program.|
|Department of Health and Human Services. 1995. “The Child Support Improvement Project: Paternity Establishment.” www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/rpt/csipat.htm||Information provided on paternity establishment.|
|Department of Health and Human Services, Fathers’ Work Group. 1997. “Fathering: The Man and the Family.” http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/year2.htm||Reviews activities including research, trainings, conferences etc. which address fatherhood.|
|The F.A.C.T. Program, Lexington, Kentucky. A Collaborative Effort between Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and the Blackburn Correctional Complex.||This program teaches fathers who are incarcerated how to be responsible while in prison, communicate with their children, and recognize the importance of their role as a father. Graduates of the 12-week course are entitled to special visits from their children in a less restrictive environment.|
|Families and Work Institute. The Fatherhood Project Home Page. www.fatherhoodproject.org||A national initiative for research and education-primarily provides access to publications.|
|Georgia Fatherhood program www.welfareinfo.org/geiorgiafatherhood.htm||Review of the Georgia Fatherhood program|
|Henrich, C. “The Importance of Fatherhood: Promising Efforts to Promote Positive Father Involvement.” State of Connecticut, Commission on Children. www.cga.state.ct.us/coc/fatherho.htm||Reviews programs in Connecticut while also providing information on legislation and practices in other states.|
|Illinois Department of Public Aid. “Child Support Enforcement Non-Custodial Parents.” http://www.state.il.us/dpa/html/wcs_8246.htm||Reviews Illinois program services - NCPSU (Non-custodial parent services units)|
|The Lewin Group, Inc. 1997. “An Evaluability Assessment of Responsible Fatherhood Programs.” Department of Health and Human Services. http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/evaluaby/intro.htm||Provides information on the evaluation of fatherhood programs. Also provides information on these programs.|
|Long Distance Dads. Incarcerated Fathers Program developed at State Correctional Institution at Albion, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. http://www.thefathersworkshop.org/lddads_1.html||This curriculum-based 12-week program assists incarcerated men in developing the skills to become more involved and supportive fathers.|
|Martinson, K., Trutko, J., and D. Strong. 2000. Serving Non-Custodial Parents: A Descriptive Study of Welfare to Work Programs. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.||Services, programs and participation of non-custodial parents.|
|National Center for Children in Poverty. 2000. “Map and Track 2000.” http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/mt00text.html||Reviews state by state initiatives and indicators related to fatherhood.|
|National Center on Fathers and Families. 1999-2000. “State Policy Series Briefs on Family Support and Father Involvement.”||Reviews activities and policy issues related to fathers in:
1. Southern States
2. Mid-Atlantic/New England States
3. Western States
|National Center on Fathers and Families. 2001. “The Bay Area Fathering Integrated Data System (BAyFIDS) Project. www.ncoff.gse.upenn.edu/bayfids/bayfids-intro.htm||Reviews fatherhood initiatives in the Bay Area|
|National Conference of State Legislatures. 2000. “Building Services to help fathers.” In Connecting Low-Income Families and Fathers: A Guide to Practical Policies.||Policy brief discussing the importance of fathers and the policies which affect them.|
|National Fatherhood Initiative. www.fatherhood.org/statelocal.asp||Reviews programs in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.|
|Office of Child Support Enforcement. 2001. Best Practices and Good Ideas in Child Support Enforcement 2001. Washington, D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2001/best/||State by state review of child support enforcement practices, including paternity establishment.|
|Operation Fatherhood: Promising Practices. www.welfareinfo.org/operationfatherhood.htm||Reviews promising practices program in New Jersey. Provides contact information.|
|Papas and Their Children (PATCH) Program, San Antonio, Texas. http://www.oag.state.tx.us/criminal/cluzine/cluincar.htm||This program allows incarcerated fathers to spend an hour with their children in several area jails. The purpose is to help selected offenders to develop and maintain bonds with their children.|
|Paternity Establishment Project, Virginia.||Project whose aim is to reduce costs of establishing paternity for clients who apply for child support benefits through promotion of voluntary/legal acknowledgement of paternity at birth or shortly thereafter. Data provided on number of paternity declarations.|
|Pearson, J., Thoennes, N., Price, D., and J. Venohr. 2000. OCSE Responsible Fatherhood Programs: Early Implementation Lessons. Washington, D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services.||Discusses several important steps for program implementation. Also provides information on fatherhood programs in various states across the country.|
|Roy, K. 2000. "Fathers on the Margins of Work and Family: the Paternal Involvement Project." Poverty Research News, 4(2). Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Joint Center for Poverty Research. http://www.jcpr.org/newsletters/vol4_no2/articles.htm||Provides information on the Paternal Involvement Project in Illinois. Additional information provided on various other issues regarding fatherhood.|
|South Carolina Fatherhood Programs www.palmettofamily.org/Father2.htm||Lists programs and contacts related to fatherhood in South Carolina.|
|State Capitals Newsletter (Family Relations). 2001. “Online access to birth records part of electronic trend for West Virginia child support agency.” 55(36): 1.||Discusses West Virginia’s trend towards electronic birth records for child support enforcement.|
|U. S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of Labor. 2001. “Meeting the Challenge: What the Federal Government can do to Support Responsible Fatherhood Efforts: Chapter 5, Getting help: Resources for Program Development and Improvement.” A Report to the President. http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/guidance01/ch5.htm||Lists various fatherhood programs and contacts throughout the country. Also lists research publications and organizations that have conducted work on fathers.|
|Welfare Information Network. 1999. “Resources for Welfare Decisions.” Vol. 3, No. 8. www.welfareinfo.org/heidiresourceoct.htm||Overview of programs/contacts. Programs in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, and Wisconsin are reviewed.|
|Welfare Information Network. 2000. “Support Services for Incarcerated and Released Non-custodial Parents.” Vol. 4, No. 6. www.welfareinfo.org/heidijune2.htm||Reviews transitional services state by state for fathers and families exiting jail.|
|Zvetina, D. 2000. “Father Care: Redefining Fatherhood in Low-income communities.” Erikson Institute, The Herr Research Center, No. 2.||Contains information on the Paternal Involvement Project in Chicago.|
1 Government web sites included U.S. Administration for Children and Families, General Accounting Office, Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics), Office of the Inspector General, Welfare Information Network. Non-profit organization web sites included Child Welfare League of America, National Conference of State Legislatures, Annie E. Casey foundation, Child Trends, Family Support America, National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families, and the National Fatherhood Initiative. University web sites included the University of Pennsylvania (National Center on Fathers and Families), Columbia University (National Center for Children in Poverty), National Conference of State Legislatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Institute for Research on Poverty, Princeton University (Center for Research on Child Well-Being & Independent Publications), University of Michigan (Institute for Social Research), and Northwestern University (Institute for Policy Research). For-profit organizational web sites included Caliber Associates, Research Triangle Institute, and Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.
2 Mark Courtney, Jay Fagan, Ellen Franck, James Gleeson, Sydney Hans, Mark Hardin, Waldo Johnson, Kristen Shook Slack, Esther Wattenberg, Aisha Ray, and Fred Wulczyn.
3 Focus groups were held with workers, supervisors, and relative caregivers in 13 counties in 4 states.
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. 2000. Trends in the Well-being of America’s Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (p. 41).
5 This estimate is based on the findings reported in Fields, J. 2001. Living Arrangements of Children: Fall 1996. Current Population Reports. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Census Bureau (p.70-74).
6 Responding to the question, “What are the Administration for Children and Families’ key priorities for 2002?” on the Administration for Children and Families’ web site, http://faq.acf.hhs.gov.
7 The total amount to be divided between state and Federal governments to reimburse for their respective shares of Title IV-E.
8 There are cases in the child welfare system in which children are not placed in out-of-home care. For example, a child may remain at home but the birth parent will be required to comply with services and the home will be monitored regularly by a child welfare caseworker.
9 A lack of cases may indicate that the data are not collected.
10 Figures are the result of Urban Institute tabulations of NSPPRS data.
11 This includes children placed with relatives by child welfare agencies regardless of whether the child was taken into state custody.
12 Title IV-E is the largest federal funding stream dedicated for child welfare. The IV-E foster care program, an open-ended entitlement, reimburses states for maintenance payments provided to cover the cost of children living in out-of-home care.
13 There are several models being implemented including the family unity model being used in Oregon since 1990 and family group conferences, originating in New Zealand in 1989.
14 In fact, the presence of a biological father in the home is slightly less than but not statistically significantly different than the likelihood of abuse in a home with just the biological mother (Radhakrishna et al. 2001).
15 Parents’ Fair Share was the first national demonstration program aimed at increasing child support payments, employment and earnings, and parental involvement of noncustodial fathers with children receiving welfare (Miller & Knox, 2001).
16. The Non-Custodial Parent Services Unit is part of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Division of Child Support Enforcement.