Fatherhood A Summary
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Fatherhood: A Summary Rosalie Bakken CED Adolescent Specialist UNL-Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fatherhood: A “trend”? • Fathers largely ignored for decades • Demographic trends inspire a new focus on fatherhood – Divorce – Dual career families – Father absence – Nebraska: similar trends • Deluge of research • Evolving nature of research • Federal encouragement of fatherhood research What does the research show? • Healthy father involvement associated with positive outcomes – Cognitive development – Academic success – Social and emotional development – Healthy choices and behaviors – Studies at a variety of stages across the lifespan • Father absence associated with risk – Even after adjusting for other factors A sampling of other key research findings: • ↓ involvement of nonmarital & divorced fathers • ↑ involvement in 2-parent hh’s • Quality over quantity • Involvement goes far beyond financial support • Delayed age of fatherhood – Esp. highly educated • Nonresidential and teen fathers face barriers to continued involvement with children • Father’s role depends on mother Areas of Burgeoning Research • Fatherhood among diverse racial and ethnic groups • Fatherhood among special populations (teens, incarcerated fathers, etc.) • Roles of nonbiological father-figures – Stepfathers – Grandfathers – Legal fathers – Foster fathers, etc. • The meaning of becoming a father – Its effect on men’s personal development • How fathers’ roles affect mothers • Fatherhood within the context of gay and lesbian parenthood Questions to be answered… • How do characteristics of the child affect father involvement? • Under what circumstances is father involvement unhealthy? – Abusive situations – Parental conflict • What specific dimensions of father involvement are most important? • Are there certain times in the development of a child when father involvement is most salient? • How does the father-child relationship evolve over time? • How are fatherhood roles transmitted across generations? Policy Issues: The Fatherhood Initiative • Social policy has begun to reflect research findings – National level, Began by President Clinton, 1995 – Programs and policies put into place to encourage further study and programming related to fatherhood – National level • Head Start, Early Head Start – State level initiatives • Nebraska Fatherhood Initiative, HHSS • “Our” Fatherhood Team • Others – Local level initiatives • Many, Clearinghouse needed Policy and Programming Issues to be Addressed: • Validating father involvement for all fathers in homes, schools, medical systems, child-care facilities, justice system, etc. • Education, policy, programs • How do we do this for diverse groups? • Nonresidential fathers: child support, custody, barriers to involvement • Rights and responsibilities of teen fathers • Influence of “fatherhood movement” on motherhood • Creating father-friendly workplaces Nebraska Fatherhood Team • Convened in July 2001 – CED involvement – Department and College – Other faculty, UNL & UNO – Others in the Community • Long term goals – Create a Nebraska clearinghouse – Create supportive environment – Examine laws, procedures, barriers to father involvement – Bring lens to systems in NE – Ecological perspective • Short term goal: – Working conference to bring together key people and organizations to focus on needs related to fatherhood in Nebraska • Explore needs, funding opportunities • Stimulate communication, research , education, and programming activities • Sept or Oct 2002 • Omaha, 50-60 participants • National speakers • Create issue-based action plans – Research – Policy – Program application • Role for Extension will develop out of this conference • Mean time….