Journal of family issues
This study examines the impact of state welfare reform policies on the paternal involvement of low-income single fathers. Life history interviews were conducted with 40 African American fathers participating in a community-based parenting program in Chicago. Men's rightful claims to fatherhood were constructed through voluntary involvement with their children and enforced paternity establishment. Welfare policies gave precedence to child support and providing and dismissed fathers' in-kind caregiving. Policy requirements reflected limited understanding of related caregiving and providing aspects of fatherhood as they vary across race and class. Family welfare policies that prioritize finances over care may curtail paternal involvement altogether; they may also adversely affect the well-being of poor children, who could benefit from the potential commitment of their fathers. (Author abstract).
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