Greater collaboration is needed between researchers, policymakers, and child welfare practitioners in creating social policies to foster improved parenting by fathers. This chapter examines ways policymakers and researchers have historically approached efforts to encourage responsible fathering, and the lack of systematic data from practitioners on the problems and issues they face with regard to fathers. Practice-derived research can provide greater insight into actual problems, as well as offer necessary data for policies aimed at providing solutions for families. Focus groups can help practitioners identify the special problems and critical issues of fathers and their families, and findings from several of these are presented. These include recognition by family welfare practitioners of ways that they might benefit from greater collaboration with policymakers and social researchers. The authors also consider several emerging examples and possibilities of ways collaboration can serve all parties involved in dealing with family and parenting issues involving problematic fathers, especially nonresidential, noncustodial fathers. Greater attention must be paid to the factors that limit or impede the ability of poorer fathers to contribute to their children's financial support and engage in nurturing behaviors. Programs that support such efforts or provide interventions are to be encouraged. Numerous references, 6 notes, 1 table.
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