This symposium includes four complementary presentations. The first study applied the Family Stress Model to 858 racially diverse fathers (and mothers) with low income. Structural equation modeling was used to examine family processes underlying the links between material hardship and fathers' child neglect risk. The second study used a sample of 1,172 fathers from the Survey of Contemporary Fatherhood. Ordinal logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between fathers' adherence to masculine norms and their likelihood of engaging in child maltreatment risk behaviors, including spanking. The third study used child welfare administrative data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Federal Fiscal Year 2017. Latent class analysis with a distal outcome was primarily used to explore distinct classes of families' risks associated with CPS entry, and whether single father families presented different risks of CPS re-report. The fourth study used 94 sources of evidence across 30 years to conduct a scoping review on fathers in foster care. The PRISMA-ScR was used to examine the evidence base of the outcomes, experiences, and needs of young men who become fathers in foster care.
This symposium fits well with the SSWR 2023 conference theme of Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequalities + Building Solutions because it focuses on identifying inequities racially and residentially diverse fathers at risk of involvement or already involved with the child welfare system face. Additionally, the symposium offers tangible programmatic and policy solutions for reducing those inequities to best support fathers to positively impact their children across the child welfare spectrum. Key contributions of the symposium include critical reflection on (1) recruiting and retaining fathers at risk of involvement or already involved in the child welfare system in social work research; (2) collecting and using data from fathers; and (3) directly engaging fathers in impacting child welfare practices and policies to be more father-inclusive.
The symposium discussant has expertise is in the role of fathers in resilience of children and youth who have been maltreated or involved in the child welfare system. Her commentary contributes a translational component that speaks to how social work practitioners can serve fathers at risk of child maltreatment or child welfare involvement and thus best support their children and families.