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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Murphy, Jane C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    This Article analyzes the issue of paternity disestablishment, an issue courts and legislatures have been struggling with over the last several years. For a variety of reasons explored in this Article, an increasing number of fathers have filed requests to set aside paternity orders seeking to be relieved of the legal obligations of fatherhood. As a result families have been destabilized and children are becoming fatherless. The implications for the future of the family are profound. Although some scholars have examined this phenomenon, none have addressed the link between paternity disestablishment and welfare reform.

    This Article explores the law's evolving definition of fatherhood and concludes that the law's response to the paternity disestablishment crisis threatens to impose a narrow definition of fatherhood based on biology. This new definition of fatherhood has not developed to serve any of the traditional goals of family law, protecting children and preserving family stability. Rather, this trend appears to be one of the unintended consequences of two decades of...

    This Article analyzes the issue of paternity disestablishment, an issue courts and legislatures have been struggling with over the last several years. For a variety of reasons explored in this Article, an increasing number of fathers have filed requests to set aside paternity orders seeking to be relieved of the legal obligations of fatherhood. As a result families have been destabilized and children are becoming fatherless. The implications for the future of the family are profound. Although some scholars have examined this phenomenon, none have addressed the link between paternity disestablishment and welfare reform.

    This Article explores the law's evolving definition of fatherhood and concludes that the law's response to the paternity disestablishment crisis threatens to impose a narrow definition of fatherhood based on biology. This new definition of fatherhood has not developed to serve any of the traditional goals of family law, protecting children and preserving family stability. Rather, this trend appears to be one of the unintended consequences of two decades of federal and state policy designed to reform the nation's welfare system. The broad goals of these policies may be well founded. But modern child support enforcement policy, so central to welfare reform and aimed most aggressively against low income fathers, is pushing fathers to seek disestablishment of paternity. In response, courts and legislatures are reinstating a construct of paternal functions defined in economic terms and grounded in biology. This new definition of fatherhood ignores other bases for fatherhood based on marriage, care taking or both. As a result, the state's interests in collecting child support, protecting children and preserving families are undermined by the very laws that should protect those interests. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Legler, Paul; Turetsky, Vicki
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) provides new state flexibility to pass through more child support dollars to children who currently receive or formerly received welfare. The federal government will pick up part of the cost if states exercise this new flexibility. These changes provide opportunities for states to devise new strategies to increase parental support for poor children and reduce poverty. In this policy brief, we discuss three reasons for states to consider these new opportunities. (author abstract)

    The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) provides new state flexibility to pass through more child support dollars to children who currently receive or formerly received welfare. The federal government will pick up part of the cost if states exercise this new flexibility. These changes provide opportunities for states to devise new strategies to increase parental support for poor children and reduce poverty. In this policy brief, we discuss three reasons for states to consider these new opportunities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Roy, Kevin M.; Lucas, Kristen
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    Few studies have focused on disadvantaged men's efforts to seek a second chance to remake their lives. In this article, we examine expressions of generativity in life history interviews with a diverse sample of 77 Black and White low-income fathers. We explore what constituted "the difficult past" of men's failures as providers, partners, students, sons, and even parents. Fathers in the study attempted to make up for the difficult past through acting generatively as parents. We identify two narrative types: second chance for self in which fathers remake their own past failures and second chance for family in which fathers redo painful experiences during their own childhoods and repair broken generational ties. Finally, we consider how social disadvantage—through race and class differences—shapes fathers' narratives of second chances. The past is difficult, you know? Pain is never ending. If you know what it feels like, if anything has been taken away from you and you've been at the bottom of the bottoms … it's hell. You can't make up for it. You can take different bits and pieces...

    Few studies have focused on disadvantaged men's efforts to seek a second chance to remake their lives. In this article, we examine expressions of generativity in life history interviews with a diverse sample of 77 Black and White low-income fathers. We explore what constituted "the difficult past" of men's failures as providers, partners, students, sons, and even parents. Fathers in the study attempted to make up for the difficult past through acting generatively as parents. We identify two narrative types: second chance for self in which fathers remake their own past failures and second chance for family in which fathers redo painful experiences during their own childhoods and repair broken generational ties. Finally, we consider how social disadvantage—through race and class differences—shapes fathers' narratives of second chances. The past is difficult, you know? Pain is never ending. If you know what it feels like, if anything has been taken away from you and you've been at the bottom of the bottoms … it's hell. You can't make up for it. You can take different bits and pieces from the past to reinsure a hope that your future does not go into the same thing that already happened. Otherwise, it hurts. You're living in the past and can't change it. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dubowitz, Howard; Lane, Wendy; Greif, Geoffrey L; Jensen, Tina K.; Lamb, Michael E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    We were interested in how low-income African American fathers of 12-year-old children in families identified as high risk viewed their role as father. Four focus group discussions involving 19 fathers were conducted. We had four key questions: (1) what the men perceived as the children's needs, (2) how they met those needs, (3) what motivated them to be involved, and (4) what barriers they faced. The fathers emphasized the children's need for love and support, and were concerned about materialism, violence, and promiscuity as they struggled to instill “good” values. They described the challenges of raising children in dangerous environments, and concerns about their daughters and their sexuality. Some men found it difficult to be a parent figure without being the biological father or by not living with the child. Many of their views on parenting were similar to those reported elsewhere by white as well as middle class men. Implications for practitioners are included. (author abstract)

    We were interested in how low-income African American fathers of 12-year-old children in families identified as high risk viewed their role as father. Four focus group discussions involving 19 fathers were conducted. We had four key questions: (1) what the men perceived as the children's needs, (2) how they met those needs, (3) what motivated them to be involved, and (4) what barriers they faced. The fathers emphasized the children's need for love and support, and were concerned about materialism, violence, and promiscuity as they struggled to instill “good” values. They described the challenges of raising children in dangerous environments, and concerns about their daughters and their sexuality. Some men found it difficult to be a parent figure without being the biological father or by not living with the child. Many of their views on parenting were similar to those reported elsewhere by white as well as middle class men. Implications for practitioners are included. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schindler, Holly S.; Coley, Rebekah L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    The present qualitative research focuses on homeless fathers living with their children in family shelters. Data were collected through semistructured, face-to-face interviews with homeless fathers (n= 9) and shelter directors (n= 3). Findings suggest that how fathers made meaning of their experiences in a homeless shelter was related to contextual factors and constructions of masculinity. Contextual constraints deriving from unemployment, behavioral and psychological restrictions of shelters, and new parenting roles led men to reassess their parental and masculine role identities. Results further suggest that homeless shelters may provide a unique point for intervention services to assist poor fathers. (author abstract)

    The present qualitative research focuses on homeless fathers living with their children in family shelters. Data were collected through semistructured, face-to-face interviews with homeless fathers (n= 9) and shelter directors (n= 3). Findings suggest that how fathers made meaning of their experiences in a homeless shelter was related to contextual factors and constructions of masculinity. Contextual constraints deriving from unemployment, behavioral and psychological restrictions of shelters, and new parenting roles led men to reassess their parental and masculine role identities. Results further suggest that homeless shelters may provide a unique point for intervention services to assist poor fathers. (author abstract)

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