Policies and Programs Affecting Fathers: A State-by-State Report Chapter 12: Conclusions

Jan 2022 | Jessica Pearson & Rachel Wildfeuer

Looking across the chapters of our report, we find the following patterns: there are few state policies and programs that explicitly target fathers, especially those who are low-income and nonresident; there are many state policies and programs that indirectly affect fathers; many states have not enacted supportive father policies; many policy metrics for low-income fathers reflect long-standing regional patterns for women and children; many supportive policies and programs do not exist at scale; many needed policies require changes at the federal level; performance measures and targets on father engagement are needed with appropriate incentives and sanctions; and there are new opportunities for states to help low-income fathers and their families. In terms of limitations and next steps, there is: missing information on many important areas; a lack of data and analysis on racial and ethnic disparities;  limited research on the impact of state policies on father engagement with children; and a need to update this compilation on a regular basis.

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