The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons From Parents' Fair Share.

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Miller, C.
Knox, V.
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The Parents' Fair Share demonstration program was implemented in seven sites to test an approach for helping noncustodial fathers meet their child support responsibilities. Employment and training services, support groups, mediation services, and modified child support enforcement activities were intended to improve job stability and child support payments, as well as father-child relationships. The evaluation of the project compared outcomes for fathers who participated in the Parents' Fair Share program with fathers who were randomly assigned to a control group from 1994 to 1996. Overall, the project helped to increase wages for fathers who were considered the least employable but had no effect on income for the men who found their jobs themselves. Participation in skill-building programs was lower than expected. However, many men took advantage of job club services. Most of the fathers visited their children on a regular basis. Increased parental conflict about decisions affecting the child prompted some mothers to limit visits. Participants in the Parents' Fair Share program paid more child support than fathers in the control group. Recommendations include: expand job opportunities for fathers by offering part-time employment with training or stipends for community service; involve custodial mothers in programs; offer legal advocacy services to fathers; and integrate fatherhood programs into the child support enforcement system. 33 references, 5 figures, 4 tables.

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