Fathers' Views of Co-Parenting Relationships: Findings from the PACT Evaluation

Dec 2017 | Daniel Friend, Jeffrey Max, Pamela Holcomb, Kathryn Edin, and Robin Dion

From Mathematica: When parents collaborate, support each other, and share goals and beliefs about their children, fathers are more involved in their children’s lives. But a new qualitative study reveals some of the complex challenges fathers face in attempting to co-parent their children. As part of the PACT evaluation, conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), Mathematica researchers conducted three rounds of in-depth qualitative interviews with a subset of participants voluntarily enrolled in one of four Responsible Fatherhood programs. The first round of in-depth interviews included 87 fathers, most of whom were African American and did not live with their children. A large majority of the fathers interviewed in Round 2 are in conflicted or disengaged co-parenting relationships. Additionally, only a minority of fathers had formal visitation, joint custody, or parenting time agreements at the time of the second round of interviews, suggesting that fathers may need help attaining the formal legal arrangements that can structure and support a greater degree of involvement with their children.

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