Confining Fatherhood: Incarceration and Paternal Involvement Among Fathers of Various Ethnicities

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The authors examine the consequences of incarceration for nonresident White, Latino, and African American fathers' contact with children and their formal and informal child support agreements. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, they found that fathers' current incarceration presented serious obstacles to maintaining contact with children and interfered with the establishment of informal financial support agreements with mothers. Recent and past incarceration were strongly and negatively associated with how often non-Latino White fathers saw their children but had a considerably smaller effect for African American and Latino fathers. A similar pattern of racial and ethnic differences was observed with respect to mothers' trust of fathers to take care of their children. Findings suggest the continued need for fathering programs in prisons and for reentry programs for fathers in communities following their release.

Related Topics

  • Behavioral Health
  • Child Welfare
  • Fathers/Partners
  • Parenting
  • Trauma