This study uses longitudinal data from the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth to examine father-child contact between fathers who aged out of foster care and their children (N = 287 children of 150 fathers). The authors examine the effect of remaining in foster care after age 18 and find that it is positively associated with father-child contact when fathers are age 26. Some of this relationship is explained by positive associations between remaining in care, employment, and men's coresidence with the child's mother, and a negative association with criminal conviction. Even among involved fathers, however, criminal convictions and unemployment are common. Findings suggest that extending care from age 18 to 21 benefits young men, and their children, when they become fathers. Child welfare policies and practice should attend to the needs of young men who become fathers, before and after they exit care. (Author abstract)
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