This study uses early descriptive data from the National Evaluation of Welfare to Work Strategies (NEWWS) Child Outcome Study, a sub-study of the larger random assignment evaluation of the Federal JOBS program, to answer two timely and important questions. First, what factors predict father involvement among nonresident fathers of young children who receive welfare? And second, is nonresident father involvement associated with better outcomes for these children? The three measures of nonresident father involvement examined are father-child visitation, formal child support payments received through the welfare office, and informal child support, such as money given directly to the mother, groceries, clothes, or other items. Findings reveal that while only 16.6% of fathers provided child support through the formal system during the past year, a considerably larger proportion, 42.3%, provided informal child support, and 67% visited at least once in the past year. Informal support and father-child visitation are the most highly correlated forms of involvement, and they share many of the same predictors. Only two predictors are significant and in the same direction for all three measures of nonresident father involvement. Father's residence in the same state as the focal child and the provision of support for the child from the father's family are associated with a higher likelihood of his involvement. In general, findings for the child well-being measures show that monetary and material contributions from the father, especially contributions provided informally, are positively associated with more positive child well-being outcomes. (author abstract)
This article was adapted from a report developed by Child Trends October 1996.