This brief discusses the importance of a healthy father-child relationship and the benefits of father involvement in child welfare cases. It cites research findings that indicate nonresident fathers' involvement with their children is associated with a higher likelihood of a reunification outcome and a lower likelihood of an adoption outcome, children with highly involved nonresident fathers are discharged from foster care more quickly than those with less or no involvement, and among children whose case outcome is reunification, usually with their mothers, higher levels of nonresident father involvement are associated with a substantially lower likelihood of subsequent maltreatment allegations. Findings are then shared from the Minnesota Child and Family Service Review on how children enter the child welfare system, parental visitation, parental engagement in case planning, and worker visits with parents. The following section explains legal mandates in Minnesota governing child welfare services that have strengthened the rights and roles of fathers and noncustodial parents in the child protection court process. Section 5 reports findings from a survey of 99 child welfare professionals on challenges and barriers that limit their child welfare agency's ability work with fathers that involve fathers in child welfare matters. Five success stories are then provided that illustrate effective efforts to identify and locate fathers, involve fathers, work through mothers? reluctance, make the commitment to better serve fathers, and utilize Family Group Decision Making, Wrapraround services, and the Signs of Safety approach. The final section provides suggestions for better serving fathers with children involved in the child welfare system. Additional resources are listed. 32 references.
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