Article

Father Involvement in Kinship Care: A Risk and Resilience Perspective

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Abstract

Kinship care refers to familial arrangements where the primary caregiver(s) are biological relatives, godparents, or other fictive kin with strong bonds, raising children when the biological parents are unable. The majority of children living in a home with neither of their biological parents present are living in kinship care arrangements. Previous research has primarily focused on maternal involvement and experiences in kinship care; however, little is known about paternal access, engagement, and responsibility in these arrangements. Researchers and practitioners have identified factors that can serve as barriers and facilitators to fathers’ involvement in various contexts. The current study seeks to gain a better understanding of the experiences of fathers with children living in kinship care. To address these goals, we asked the two following questions: (1) What are fathers’ experiences regarding involvement with their children in kinship care arrangements? and (2) What are the common barriers and facilitators to fathers’ involvement in kinship care arrangements? Participants included 25 self-identified fathers of children living in kinship care arrangements. Findings suggest that relationship quality among father-child(ren) and father-caregiver, as well as paternal self-efficacy, each have implications for paternal involvement in kinship care. Continuing this line of research will provide support for enhancing father involvement in a manner that best supports child outcomes in kinship care.

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... Despite living in separate spaces, there is promising evidence to suggest that nonresident fathers are still engaged in the lives of their children (Cheadle et al., 2010;Higgs et al., 2018;Jones & Mosher, 2013), which is beneficial for all members of the family system (Allport et al., 2018;Logan, 2018). Their involvement, however, is largely influenced by their socioeconomic status (Gibson et al., 2020;Icard et al., 2017). ...
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Within the context of kinship care, the main objectives of this work are to study the characteristics of contact between foster children and their birth parents, and their relationship with key variables of fostering, the children and their kinship caregivers. The sample included 189 children from Spain and their kinship families. A semi-structured placement interview and two scales relating to the child–caregiver relationship and child's psychological adjustment were used with the kinship families. The results revealed a significant percentage of foster children who had no family contact. Various visit types, frequencies and durations were described. Kinship care with contact, compared with placements without contact, was frequently characterized by the absence of professional supervision, and an affectionate child–caregiver relationship; moreover, children with contact were perceived to have fewer serious behaviour and socio-emotional problems and a greater probability of family reunification. The regression analysis showed that the main predictors for how caregivers assessed contact were the children's emotional reaction during visits and the quality of the relationship between the kinship families and the birth parents. These results suggest the need for further research about contact, which will certainly have a major impact on professional intervention with these families.
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Fathers' roles in family life have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In addition to ongoing breadwinning responsibilities, many fathers are now involved in direct caregiving and engagement with children. Yet there is considerable variation in what fathers do, especially depending on whether they live with or away from their child. In this article, the authors use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,869) to describe how fathers' economic capacities (money) and direct involvement with children (time) are associated over child ages 1 to 9 for resident versus nonresident fathers, net of confounding factors. They found suggestive evidence that money and time investments operate differently across residential contexts: Resident fathers experience a trade-off between market work and time involved with children. In contrast, nonresident fathers' higher economic capacities are associated with more time involvement, underscoring the greater challenge for such fathers to remain actively involved.
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Chapter
This research item refers to 2 chapters of mine which appeared in the book titled The Role of the Father in Child Development (2010). (ResearchGate lists book chapters with the title of the book that included the chapter.) #1 is “Paternal involvement: Revised conceptualization and theoretical linkages with child outcomes.“ #2 is “Fatherhood and masculinity.” I have made these two chapters available on ResearchGate under those chapter titles. (Google Scholar also lists the 2010 book title as one of my publications.)
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Nonresident fathers have been shown to have much higher psychological distress than married parents with rates similar to or higher than those of single mothers. This study explores how aspects of the father–child relationship influence nonresident fathers’ psychological distress using the 1997 Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Using a structural equation model, this study finds that, other than being married, only father–child relationship quality has a direct influence on nonresident fathers’ psychological distress. Conflict with the mother, talking to the child, and the salience of the fatherhood role all influence psychological distress indirectly through father–child relationship quality.
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A meta-analysis was undertaken, including 66 studies, to determine the relationship between father involvement and the educational outcomes of urban school children. Statistical analyses were done to determine the overall impact and specific components of father involvement. The possible differing effects of paternal involvement by race were also examined. The results indicate that the association between father involvement and the educational outcomes of youth overall is significant statistically. Paternal involvement, as a whole, yielded effect sizes of usually just under .2 of a standard deviation unit. The positive effects of father involvement held for both White and minority children.
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Although a growing literature identifies how they contribute to the well-being of their children, African American fathers have largely been ignored in child welfare intervention research. Using data from interviews with caseworkers in two agencies, this article describes the extent to which 74 African American fathers participated in services on behalf of children placed in kinship foster homes because of abuse, neglect, or dependency. The data revealed that few fathers were involved in case assessments, case planning, or receipt of services. Caseworkers usually did not pursue paternal involvement or identify lack of participation as a professional concern. The article explores possible explanations for the low participation and identifies practice and policy changes that would increase fathers' involvement. The article also argues for more research into this neglected topic.
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The percentage of children in the United States living apart from their biological father has increased, while public assistance for single mothers has diminished. This has resulted in a need to better understand and promote nonresident fathers' economic support of their children. In the present study the author used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 1,752) to examine how coparenting—the degree to which parents are mutually supportive and cooperative in raising their child—is related to nonresident fathers' monetary contributions. Results from pooled regression and fixed effects models indicate that coparenting is positively associated with fathers' likelihood of paying formal and informal child support and the amount of these payments. Findings from cross-lagged structural equation models suggest that the association between coparenting and fathers' payments is reciprocal but that coparenting has a stronger effect on fathers' payments than fathers' payments do on coparenting.
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This Bench Book summarizes theory, research, and a forensic assessment model of parental gatekeeping relevant for understanding and resolving child custody disputes. This concise format is geared primarily as a resource for judges, though it may be equally valuable to evaluators, parenting coordinators, and others. Gatekeeping encompasses a common statutory factor of support for the other parent–child relationship. The gatekeeping model includes a continuum ranging from facilitative to restrictive gatekeeping. Behavioral examples are presented. Implications of a gatekeeping analysis for crafting parenting plans are described, including in relocation cases and when there has been a history of intimate partner violence.
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Limited understandings exist about non-resident fathers' views of their involvement with their children in foster care placements. Guided by the ecological systems framework, the purpose of this exploratory study was to gain insights into fathers' perceptions of their involvement with a child in foster care. Data were collected from demographic questionnaires and two focus groups with 17 men. Fathers expressed how kinship compared with non-kinship placements affected their involvement. Fathers were also in agreement that their financial hardships were a significant factor affecting their involvement. Several fathers also reported how they experienced discrimination in the child welfare system as men. Surprisingly, uncommon to findings from other studies, few men viewed the child's mother as being a barrier to their involvement. The findings provide insights into factors requiring attention to help non-residential fathers become involved with their children.
Article
The current study, utilizing data from the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (Love et al., 2005) explored the relationship between biological father presence and emotion regulation over toddlerhood among children from low-income families. Conceptualizing biological father presence as a proxy for family role development, results are interpreted from a role development theoretical perspective. The latent growth curve model was compared based on child ethnoracial status (African American, Caucasian, Hispanic) and child gender. Consistent biological father presence was associated with toddlers' regulatory development across toddlerhood, and this relationship was most robust among Caucasian toddlers as compared to African American toddlers. Findings for Hispanic toddlers were not significantly different from those of Caucasian or African American families. Results bolster the literature on father presence and child outcomes. Analyses address consistency in father presence as a proxy for coherent role development and define a link between consistent father presence and children's regulatory development, demonstrating ethnoracial differences which are likely attributed to the social construction of family roles. © 2014 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.
Article
Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we examined patterns of nonresident father involvement 1 and 3 years after a nonmarital birth (N = 893). Cluster analyses were used to determine patterns of involvement across different father behaviors. About half of fathers displayed low involvement when children were 1 and 3 years old, one fourth of fathers maintained high involvement, and equal remaining proportions increased or decreased involvement over time. Multinomial logistic analyses indicated that better relationships between parents were associated with consistently high versus low involvement. Better relationships with each others’ extended family also predicted remaining highly involved and increasing involvement over time. Parents’ romantic relationship status was closely associated with patterns of involvement.
Article
This article offers a new definition and an expanded conceptual model of maternal gatekeeping derived from the extant literature and critiques offered by scholars and applied to fathering. Typically, maternal gatekeeping is conceptualized as the mothers' ability to restrict fathers' involvement with children. We redefine maternal gatekeeping as a set of complex behavioral interactions between parents, where mothers influence father involvement through their use of controlling, facilitative, and restrictive behaviors directed at father's childrearing and interaction with children on a regular and consistent basis. We propose a three-dimensional model (control, encouragement, and discouragement) in which each dimension operates along continua and intersects to result in 8 types of gatekeeping. We explain these types and describe examples of behaviors in terms of their influence on father involvement. We end with suggestions for developing a measure of maternal gatekeeping and for applying the model to better understand how gatekeeping influences and is influenced by family patterns and characteristics.
Article
Objective: This report measures fathers' involvement with their children. Father involvement is measured by how often a man participated in a set of activities in the last 4 weeks with children who were living with him and with children who were living apart from him. Involvement is measured separately for children aged 0-4 years and children aged 5-18 years. Increased involvement of fathers in their children's lives has been associated with a range of positive outcomes for the children. Methods: The analyses presented in this report are based on a nationally representative sample of 10,403 men aged 15-44 years in the household population of the United States. The father-involvement measures are based on 2,200 fathers of children under age 5-1,790 who live with their children and 410 who live apart from their children, and on 3,166 fathers of children aged 5-18-2,091 who live with their children and 1,075 who live apart from their children. Results: Statistics are presented on the frequency with which fathers took part in a set of age-specific activities in their children's lives. Differences in percent distributions are found by whether the father lives with or apart from his children, and by his demographic characteristics. In general, fathers living with their children participated in their children's lives to a greater degree than fathers who live apart from their children. Differences in fathers' involvement with their children were also found by the father's age, marital or cohabiting status, education, and Hispanic origin and race.
Article
Using a longitudinal sample of 522 biological, never-married, nonresident fathers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this article examines the factors associated with fathers’ coparenting 36 months after a birth. Ordinary least squares regression models indicate never-married, nonresident fathers are less likely to perceive high coparental supportiveness if they have ever been incarcerated, if they have completed high school, if they have a greater number of children with the child’s mother, if the mother has lower levels of education, if they are not in a relationship with the focal child’s mother, if they have a new partner, and if they see their child more frequently. In contrast, more supportive coparental relationships are perceived among fathers with higher incomes, with higher education, who are employed, with a male child, and who provide informal support. This study provides continuing evidence that several aspects of nonresident men’s lives have important influences on their coparenting.
Article
Since Amato and Gilbreth's (1999) meta-analysis of nonresident father involvement and child well-being, nonmarital childbirths and nonresident father involvement both have increased. The unknown implications of such changes motivated the present study, a meta-analytic review of 52 studies of nonresident father involvement and child well-being. Consistent with Amato and Gilbreth, we found that positive forms of involvement were associated with benefits for children, with a small but statistically significant effect size. Amounts of father-child contact and financial provision, however, were not associated with child well-being. Going beyond Amato and Gilbreth, we analyzed the associations between different types of fathering and overall child well-being, and between overall father involvement and different types of child well-being. We found that nonresident father involvement was most strongly associated with children's social well-being and also was associated with children's emotional well-being, academic achievement, and behavioral adjustment. The forms of father involvement most strongly associated with child well-being were involvement in child-related activities, having positive father-child relationships, and engaging in multiple forms of involvement. Moderator analyses demonstrated variation in effect sizes based on both study characteristics and demographic variables. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Although many fathers today spend more time with children than was the case in the past, physical care of young children remains primarily mothers’ work. Yet some fathers claim that they do work traditionally seen as the “mother’s job” every day. Using subsample data from the male respondent file of the National Survey of Family Growth 2002 (n = 613), this study examines factors associated with married or cohabiting fathers’ daily involvement in physical care of children under age 5 years. Logistic regression results show that daily involvement is more likely if fathers were raised by their biological fathers, received more education, have employed wives or partners, have a young male child, or receive public assistance; it is less likely if they have school-age children. This study suggests that paternal involvement in physical care of young children is shaped by multiple factors including childhood experiences, education, economic conditions, and current family context.
Article
We use longitudinal survey and qualitative information from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine how risk factors such as physical abuse, problematic substance use, and incarceration among unmarried fathers in the study are related to fathers' early involvement with their children. The survey results indicate that nearly half of fathers have at least one risk factor and that each risk is negatively associated with paternal involvement. The results also show that fathers with risk factors are less likely to have romantic relationships with mothers and that relationships between parents mediate associations between risk factors and fathers' involvement. Qualitative interviews with a sub-sample of mothers and fathers in the study illustrate the meaning of risks for parents and the processes through which early family outcomes occur. Parents' accounts suggest that mothers often select out of relationships they deem “unhealthy” and monitor fathers' access to children, particularly in cases of physical abuse. While some fathers with risks withdraw from children, others attempt to maintain their involvement independently or as part of a strategy with the mother to address these risks with varying success. We suggest that policies to promote marriage and responsible fatherhood be mindful that some fathers they are targeting have characteristics that may not be conducive to increased involvement while other fathers face personal and institutional barriers to involvement.
Article
This study explored the relationships between maternal gatekeeping, mothers' perceptions of father competence, mothers' attitudes about the father role, and amount of father involvement. The sample consisted of 30 nonresidential and 72 residential fathers. The results of path analysis revealed that residential status of the father had a direct link to mothers' gatekeeping behavior. Father competence was indirectly and directly linked to amount of father involvement with children. Gatekeeping mediated the relationship between father competence and involvement. Maternal gatekeeping was causally linked to amount of father involvement.
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This study explored a father's parenting role identity in nondivorced and divorced, nonresidential fathers and the relationship between role identity and involvement in child-related activities. Data were collected from 270 fathers (178 nondivorced and 92 divorced) by mail questionnaires. Differences were found between groups on three dimensions of identity: nonresidential fathers reported feeling less competent and satisfied in the role, and that the role was more salient. No differences were found on role investment. Higher scores on role identity typically were associated with more frequent involvement with children. The dimensions of father parenting role identity except salience and marital status made significant contributions to predicting involvement. Marital status moderated the relationship between competence and involvement, such that the relationship was stronger for divorced, nonresident fathers.
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We examine the importance of the coparental relationship for nonresident fathers’ ties to their children. Using data from Wave 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households, we focus on the link between two dimensions of coparenting, cooperative coparenting and conflict over childrearing, and three dimensions of nonresident father involvement, contact, relationship quality, and responsive fathering. Cooperative coparenting predicts more frequent father-child contact, which in turn predicts higher relationship quality and more responsive fathering. Conflict over childrearing, however, is not significantly related to nonresident father involvement. Findings are consistent across different groups of children. Results suggest that cooperative coparenting between parents who live apart is associated with stronger ties between nonresident fathers and their children.
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Custodial fathers' engagement activities with their minor children are examined with data for heterosexual couples from the National Survey of Families and Households. Analyses focus on men who are currently living with a wife or nonlegal partner, and are conducted separately for fathers with children aged 0-4, 2-4, and 5-18. Fathers' and wives'/partners' level of education and fathers' work/scheduling hours were related to paternal involvement for selected models. However, analyses of these data, contrary to much of the previous research in this area, revealed that characteristics associated with wives'/partners' work scheduling status, number of hours worked, occupational prestige, percentage of couple income, and gender role attitudes were seldom, if ever, related to various models of fathers' engagement activities with their children. The strongest and most consistent predictors of paternal involvement with children 5-18 years of age were children's characteristics: age, number, biological status, and gender composition. Paternal involvement in leisure, playing and project activities, and private talks was positively related to having only male children living in the household, while fathers with only biological children were more likely to engage in playing and project activities and private talks with their children.
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In this study, time diary data are used to assess trends in mothers' and fathers' child care time from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the results indicate that both mothers and fathers report spending greater amounts of time in child care activities in the late 1990s than in the "family-oriented" 1960s. For mothers, there was a 1965-75 decline in routine child care time and then a 1975-98 rebound along with a steady increase in time doing more developmental activities. For 1998 fathers report increased participation in routine child care as well as in more "fun" activities. The ratio of married mothers' to married fathers' time in child care declined in all primary child care activities. These results suggest that parents have undergone a behavioral change that has more than countered family change that might otherwise have reduced time with children.
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Even though child placement agencies have come to recognize that kinship care provides continuity for the child's familial and cultural relationships, what is needed is a well-defined model for service delivery in kinship programs - one that provides a system of services to the child, biological parent, and relative caregiver as a union. This article describes one such time-limited model of service delivery that uses a family preservation approach and focuses on permanency for the child within a cultural context.
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In this chapter, the authors use data from the Fragile Families Study to examine five measures of involvement by unmarried fathers around the time of a child's birth. After briefly reviewing the relevant literature, they present descriptive information about fathers' characteristics and their involvement. Then, the authors present their multivariate analyses and note specific characteristics that appear to be strongly linked to greater father involvement. Finally, the chapter discusses particular methodological issues related to father involvement using the Fragile Families data. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)