Does fathers' involvement in services affect mothers' likelihood of reunification with children placed in foster care?

Oct 2017 | Amy D'Andrade

Abstract: Social science literature shows associations between fathers' involvement with their children and beneficial developmental outcomes of those children. A related but smaller body of research in the child welfare services arena has found measures of father involvement to be positively associated with beneficial child welfare outcomes, including child's reunification with parent after placement in foster care. However, the pathway by which father involvement affects reunification likelihood has not been determined. This study builds on the existing body of literature by testing a theoretical basis for the relationship between father involvement (measured as service use) and mothers' reunification in a model controlling for family structure. I find that fathers' involvement in services improves mothers' likelihood of reunification, independently of family structure. Results suggest that agency efforts to involve fathers in services make sense both when the aim is to prepare the father for possible custody, and when the aim is to reunify the mother.



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