This brief argues that welfare reform has not gone far enough to encourage two-parent families and responsible fatherhood. In fact, some of its own policies discourage this behavior. Furthermore, many poor families with young children are already struggling to stay together against the odds. Eventually, the majority of these families break up. By intervening early, government could help these fragile families scale the most common barriers to remaining intact over the long haul. (Author abstract)
This document offers a brief examination of the key policy issues surrounding the EITC and marriage penalties. The EITC is designed to support low income working families with children. It provides a subsidy (up to $3,816 in 1999) for families with children and low earnings. Current research shows that the EITC has been successful in raising the income of such families, increasing rewards/incentives to work among many low skill workers, and in stimulating greater work effort by single parents. (Author abstract).
According to the 1997 National Survey of America's Families, 2.6 million nonresident fathers have family incomes below the poverty line and most of them face multiple employment barriers, including a criminal record, lack of a high school education, relatively little recent work experience, and poor health. Although these employment barriers are similar to those faced by poor custodial mothers, poor nonresident fathers are significantly less likely than poor custodial mothers to participate in training, education, and job search activities as well as income security programs. Given that…
Strict criminal justice policies, such as long-term sentences, are interfering in the achievement of welfare reform goals to promote marriage and parental involvement. This report analyzes data from the Fragile Families Study to examine the impact of criminal justice policies on the likelihood that unwed parents will form a family together. A total of 3,600 unwed couples and 1,100 married couples are being interviewed at the time of their child's birth and five one-year intervals. Study participants are being recruited from 20 cities with different welfare regimes and labor markets.…