Fathers' Fair Share: Helping Poor Men Manage Child Support and Fatherhood.

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Johnson, Earl S.
Levine, Ann.
Doolittle, Fred C.
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One of the most challenging goals for welfare reformers has been improving the collection of child support payments from noncustodial parents, usually fathers. Often vilified as "deadbeats" who have dropped out of their children's lives, these fathers have been the target of largely punitive enforcement policies that give little consideration to the complex circumstances of these men's lives. Fathers' Fair Share presents an alternative to these measures with an in-depth study of the Parents' Fair Share program. A multi-state intervention run by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, the program was designed to better the employment and life skills of nonpaying fathers with children on public assistance, in the belief that this would encourage them to improve their level of child support. Fathers' Fair Share details the program's mix of employment training services, peer support groups, and dispute mediation between parents. Equally important, the authors explore the effect of the participating fathers' expectations and doubts about the program, which were colored by their often negative views about the child support and family law system. The voices heard in Fathers' Fair Share provide a rare look into the lives of low-income fathers and how they think about their struggles and prospects, their experiences in the workplace, and their responsibilities toward their families. (Author abstract)

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