Most children in foster care are not living with their fathers at the time they are removed from their homes, and once in substitute care, these children may experience even less contact with their nonresident fathers. Yet fathers and their relatives represent half of a child's potential family connections and kin resources. If ignored, important social or financial support for the child may be missed as permanency planning is conducted. Fathers or their relatives may be potential substitute caregivers for the child, may support a reunification plan with child support, respite or other assistance, or may voluntarily relinquish parental rights in support of an adoption plan. Without contact from the caseworker, such potential contributions cannot be assessed. Consequently, child welfare and child support agencies have placed new emphasis on identifying, locating, and involving nonresident fathers of children served by the child welfare system. (Author abstract, modified)
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