﻿The 1996 welfare reform legislation increased the pressure on unwed mothers to name their child’s father. This study reports on naming intentions in a sample of 392 unwed, over age 15, predominantly African-American women, who attended publicly-supported prenatal clinics in a large southern city.
Eighty-three percent planned to place the father’s name on the birth certificate, although relatively few (13%) had been told the consequences, i.e., lost of welfare support, of not doing so. This might be because few of them currently were on welfare (11%) due to the state’s very restrictive eligibility criteria. When asked what they thought might happen if they named the father, 73% said they thought that he would be very pleased and 46% that he would be more involved as a father. Relatively few (13%) would not name him because they did not want a relationship with him. Intent to name fathers was associated with being in their thirties, African- American, the father knowing that the woman was pregnant and that she planned to name him, and women believing that he would be pleased to be named and become more involved as a father.
These results confirm those of other studies indicating that even families headed by a single mother anticipate fathers playing an active role in their children’s lives. Current child support enforcement practices may make it very difficult for “dead-broke dads” to establish ties with mother and child. The presenter will describe several programs now attempting to maintain “fragile families” by helping these fathers.
Learning Objectives: As a result of hearing this presentation, audience members will: - be able to recognize factors that might lead to, or deter, attributing paternity; - be knowledgable about programs that attempt to assist fathers of children born to unwed mothers; and - have information about how to build such programs in their communities
Keywords: Partner Involvement, Welfare Reform
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA