The goal of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstrations, funded jointly by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the Ford Foundation, was to make lasting changes in the way public agencies and community organizations work with young unmarried parents to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for children and parents. To assess progress towards meeting this goal, OCSE and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) conducted a five-year, national evaluation of the demonstration projects that operated in nine States. Each project was a partnership of non-profit organizations and state and local agencies to develop comprehensive services for young, low-income, non-custodial fathers and their families and children. The PFF demonstrations were designed to help fragile families (young unwed parents and their children) by helping fathers learn to share the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of parenthood with their child's mother. The PFF projects tested new ways for state-run child support enforcement programs and community-based organizations to work together to help young fathers obtain employment, make child support payments, and learn parenting skills; as well as to help parents build stronger partnerships.
This report focuses on the characteristics of PFF participants and participants' employment, earnings, and child support patterns prior and subsequent to their enrollment in the program. Quarterly wage data from state unemployment compensation records were used to assess employment outcomes. State child support data on child support awards and payments were used to assess changes in participants' child support behaviors. (author abstract)