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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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  • Individual Author: Roy, Kevin; Palkovitz, Rob; Fagan, Jay
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    In this paper, we examine the processes and contexts that allow nonresidential fathers to maintain close relationships with their children despite multiple life transitions. Specifically, we explore how development may not be an accumulation of normative statuses and turning points but an active and urgent strategizing to find alternative paths to participation as parents, partners, and workers. We focus on analyses of life history interviews collected from 146 fathers with demographic backgrounds parallel to those in the Fragile Families data set. Within this qualitative dataset, we focus on a subsample of particularly resilient fathers to explore the processes and contexts that shape transitory fathering and that cannot be captured in secondary analyses of large data sets. (author abstract)

    In this paper, we examine the processes and contexts that allow nonresidential fathers to maintain close relationships with their children despite multiple life transitions. Specifically, we explore how development may not be an accumulation of normative statuses and turning points but an active and urgent strategizing to find alternative paths to participation as parents, partners, and workers. We focus on analyses of life history interviews collected from 146 fathers with demographic backgrounds parallel to those in the Fragile Families data set. Within this qualitative dataset, we focus on a subsample of particularly resilient fathers to explore the processes and contexts that shape transitory fathering and that cannot be captured in secondary analyses of large data sets. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Young, Alford Jr.; Holcomb, Pamela A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This report presents ethnographic case studies of eight young, unmarried, low-income fathers who participated in the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers to become financial and emotional supports to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The study examines the nature of the fathers’ relationship with their children and the mother of their children, the fathers’ experiences with the PFF program and with matters related to child support, their views on employment prospects and experiences, and their hopes and aspirations for the future. (author abstract)

    This report presents ethnographic case studies of eight young, unmarried, low-income fathers who participated in the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers to become financial and emotional supports to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The study examines the nature of the fathers’ relationship with their children and the mother of their children, the fathers’ experiences with the PFF program and with matters related to child support, their views on employment prospects and experiences, and their hopes and aspirations for the future. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Nightingale, Demetra Smith; Holcomb, Pamela A.; Barnow, Burt S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This report describes the design and implementation of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. Operating in 13 sites across the country, PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers in becoming financial and emotional resources to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The report examines the programs’ structure and institutional partnerships; participant characteristics; recruitment and enrollment efforts; the nature of employment, peer support, parenting, and child support-related services provided through the initiatives; and implementation challenges and lessons. (author abstract)

    This report describes the design and implementation of the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. Operating in 13 sites across the country, PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers in becoming financial and emotional resources to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The report examines the programs’ structure and institutional partnerships; participant characteristics; recruitment and enrollment efforts; the nature of employment, peer support, parenting, and child support-related services provided through the initiatives; and implementation challenges and lessons. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Roy, Kevin; Burton, Linda
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    We identify and discuss mothers’ early strategies to recruit nonresidential biological fathers, intimate partners, male family members and friends, and paternal kin to support the needs of young children in low-income families. Using the concept of kinscription and longitudinal ethnographic data on 149 African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White families from Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study, we developed a model of recruitment that includes three related processes: the search for legitimacy with conventional fathers and partners, the consequences of maternal advocacy for intimate relationships, and protection of children and reduction of risks to family well-being. Results indicate that mothers’ co-opting of fathers and father figures to support their children is shaped by men’s immigration status, the tenuous nature of romantic relationships, and fathers’ intergenerational caregiving responsibilities. Implications for theories of coparenting and partner dynamics in low-income families and for policy and programs are discussed. (author abstract)

    We identify and discuss mothers’ early strategies to recruit nonresidential biological fathers, intimate partners, male family members and friends, and paternal kin to support the needs of young children in low-income families. Using the concept of kinscription and longitudinal ethnographic data on 149 African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White families from Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study, we developed a model of recruitment that includes three related processes: the search for legitimacy with conventional fathers and partners, the consequences of maternal advocacy for intimate relationships, and protection of children and reduction of risks to family well-being. Results indicate that mothers’ co-opting of fathers and father figures to support their children is shaped by men’s immigration status, the tenuous nature of romantic relationships, and fathers’ intergenerational caregiving responsibilities. Implications for theories of coparenting and partner dynamics in low-income families and for policy and programs are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: England, Paula; Edin, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2007

    Today, a third of American children are born outside of marriage, up from one child in twenty in the 1950s, and rates are even higher among low-income Americans. Many herald this trend as one of the most troubling of our time. But the decline in marriage does not necessarily signal the demise of the two parent family—over 80 percent of unmarried couples are still romantically involved when their child is born and nearly half are living together. Most claim they plan to marry eventually. Yet half have broken up by their child's third birthday. What keeps some couples together and what tears others apart? After a breakup, how do fathers so often disappear from their children's lives?

    An intimate portrait of the challenges of partnering and parenting in these families, Unmarried Couples with Children presents a variety of unique findings. Most of the pregnancies were not explicitly planned, but some couples feel having a child is the natural course of a serious relationship. Many of the parents are living with their child plus the mother’s child from a previous relationship....

    Today, a third of American children are born outside of marriage, up from one child in twenty in the 1950s, and rates are even higher among low-income Americans. Many herald this trend as one of the most troubling of our time. But the decline in marriage does not necessarily signal the demise of the two parent family—over 80 percent of unmarried couples are still romantically involved when their child is born and nearly half are living together. Most claim they plan to marry eventually. Yet half have broken up by their child's third birthday. What keeps some couples together and what tears others apart? After a breakup, how do fathers so often disappear from their children's lives?

    An intimate portrait of the challenges of partnering and parenting in these families, Unmarried Couples with Children presents a variety of unique findings. Most of the pregnancies were not explicitly planned, but some couples feel having a child is the natural course of a serious relationship. Many of the parents are living with their child plus the mother’s child from a previous relationship. When the father also has children from a previous relationship, his visits to see them at their mother’s house often cause his current partner to be jealous. Breakups are more often driven by sexual infidelity or conflict than economic problems. After couples break up, many fathers complain they are shut out, especially when the mother has a new partner. For their part, mothers claim to limit dads’ access to their children because of their involvement with crime, drugs, or other dangers. For couples living together with their child several years after the birth, marriage remains an aspiration, but something couples are resolutely unwilling to enter without the financial stability they see as a sine qua non of marriage. They also hold marriage to a high relational standard, and not enough emotional attention from their partners is women’s number one complaint.

    Unmarried Couples with Children is a landmark study of the family lives of nearly fifty American children born outside of a marital union at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Based on personal narratives gathered from both mothers and fathers over the first four years of their children’s lives, and told partly in the couples' own words, the story begins before the child is conceived, takes the reader through the tumultuous months of pregnancy to the moment of birth, and on through the child's fourth birthday. It captures in rich detail the complex relationship dynamics and powerful social forces that derail the plans of so many unmarried parents. The volume injects some much-needed reality into the national discussion about family values, and reveals that the issues are more complex than our political discourse suggests. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents 

    Part I- Introduction

    Chapter 1: Unmarried Couples with Children: Hoping for Love and the White Picket Fence - Paula England and Kathryn Edin

    Part II - Couple Relationships among Unmarried Parents

    Chapter 2: Forming Fragile Families: Was the Baby Planned, Unplanned, or In Between? - Kathryn Edin, Paula England, Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer, and Joanna Reed

    Chapter 3: Everyday Gender Conflicts in Low-Income Couples - Paula England and Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer

    Chapter 4: Expectations and the Economic Bar to Marriage among Low-Income Couples - Christina Gibson-Davis

    Chapter 5: Steppin' Out: Infidelity and Sexual Jealousy among Unmarried Parents - Heather Hill

    Chapter 6: Anatomy of the Breakup: How and Why do Unmarried Couples with Children Break Up? - Joanna Reed

    Part III - Parenting Together and Apart

    Chapter 7: #1 Father or Fathering 101?: Couple Relationship Quality and Father Involvement When Fathers Live with Their Children - Kathryn Linnenberg

    Chapter 8: Blended but Not the Bradys: Navigating Unmarried Multiple Partner Fertility - Lindsay Monte

    Chapter 9: Gatekeeper Moms and (Un)Involved Dads: What Happens After a Breakup? - Amy Claessens

    Chapter 10: Child Support among Low-Income Noncustodial Fathers - Katherine Magnuson and Christina Gibson-Davis

    Part IV - Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods and Data 

    Chapter 11: Mixing Methods: Reliability and Validity Across Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Relationship Quality - Mimi Engel

    Chapter 12: Data from the TLC3 - Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer

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