Failing Our Fathers: Confronting the Crisis of Economically Vulnerable Nonresident Fathers

ISBN : 9780199371143

Ronald B. Mincy; Monique Jethwani-Keyser; Serena Klempin
208 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Jan 2015
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Maligned as "deadbeat dadsor sexually and financially irresponsible, inner-city fathers and overlooked in discussions of poverty and family policy, economically vulnerable nonresident fathers are a greatly misunderstood population. Failing our Fathers summarizes the most recent rigorous and ethnographic research and fills in important gaps with new analyses. The result is a comprehensive picture of who these fathers are, what types of relationships they have with their families and children, and the challenges they face meeting what they, taxpayers and their children and families expect from them. The book argues that in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 Great Mancession, nearly 6 million - almost one of every eleven - men will be unable to provide financial and other kinds of support for their children who live elsewhere. This population is far larger than the inner city, unmarried, Black and Latino men who have been the focus of the debate on disadvantaged fathers. Because so few could reduce the child support obligations that built up during the mass unemployment and incarceration over the previous two decades, they have long-term debts, which they may never be able to pay. Nevertheless, they play active roles as friends, mentors, educators, and disciplinarians for their children and they want to do more. However, they face several challenges, including: time and distance, new family obligations, contentious relationships with children's mothers - who just as often have new partners and children of their own - and personal problems with drugs, alcohol and past or present jail time. Besides requiring these fathers to support their children, we must enable them to do so in ways that parallel how we require and enable vulnerable single mothers to do the same. The book lays out specific reforms required to do this and practical tips for those who are Fathering without Means.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Who are these Fathers?
Chapter 3. Nonresident Fathers in Active Parenting Roles
Chapter 4. Understanding Challenges to Active Parenting Roles
Chapter 5. Nonresident Fathers as Breadwinners
Chapter 6. Understanding Challenges to the Breadwinner Role: Limited Education
Chapter 7. Understanding Challenges to the Breadwinner Role: Limited Employment and Finances
Chapter 8. How Programs and Policies Can Help Nonresident Fathers Reach Their Goals
Chapter 9. Tips for Nonresident Fathers

About the author: 

Ronald B. Mincy, PhD, is the Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being (CRFCFW). He is also a co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Monique Jethwani-Keyser, PhD is a Lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW), where she is teaching Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Adolescent Development, and Clinical Practice Evaluation.Serena Klempin, MSW, is a Research Associate at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. She was most recently a Research Associate at the Columbia University School of Social Work's Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being.

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