Ten Key Findings from Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives

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The Urban Institute

This report examines the results of five programs initiated from the 1990s through 2000 to help low-income noncustodial fathers maintain child support payments. Many of the men faced numerous barriers to steady employment, including criminal backgrounds, health problems, substance abuse, unstable housing and lack of transportation. However, researchers found that the men’s negative perceptions of child support programs were often dispelled when the programs helped them learn about their rights and how they could avoid accumulating debt to the system. Programs found that helping men avoid child support debt was crucial, because such debt kept many fathers from contact with their children.

Among other findings: Child support enforcement agencies should collaborate with fatherhood programs, and the fathers placed a high value on improving their relationships with their children. Free, 12 pages. (202) 833-7200, http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/Fatherhood_Policy_Brief.pdf.