Manufacturing Ghost Fathers: The Paradox of Father Presence and Absence in Child Welfare.

Journal Name
Child and Family Social Work
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Brown, Leslie.
Callahan, Marilyn.
Strega, Susan.
Walmsley, Christopher.
Dominelli, Lena.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language
Fathers exist in the lives of women and children involved with child welfare authorities, and yet, they are rarely seen by child welfare. This invisibility exists whether or not fathers are deemed as risks or as assets to their families. Using an analysis of fundamental child welfare policies and practices and relevant literature, the paper examines how 'ghost' fathers are manufactured, and how this phenomenon affects families and professionals in child welfare. An analysis of gender, class, race and culture of child welfare discourses shows how these fathers are seen as deviant, dangerous, irresponsible and irrelevant, and even further, how absence in child welfare is inextricably linked to blaming mothers. In failing to work with fathers, child welfare ignores potential risks and assets for both mothers and children. (Author abstract)

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