The timing is right--states and communities have unprecedented opportunities to invest in services and develop policies that help low-income fathers become the emotional and financial providers that their children need and deserve. Research has underscored theimportance of fathers in child development. Children with involved fathers are less likely to become teen parents, be involved with the juvenile justice systemand are more likely to perform better in school. However, recent reforms in welfare and child support have focused almost exclusively on helping mothersmove off welfare, without assistance given to helping their male counterparts become contributors to their children's emotional and financial well-being.
Because more mothers and children leave the welfare rolls due to employment, sanctions and time limits, it is vital that these families have access to the contributions that fathers can make. The policiesdiscussed here are designed to highlight ways that states can help to guarantee this goal by ensuring children benefit from two involved parents--even if parents are unmarried. (Author abstract)
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