Children's Legal Rights Journal
Paternity and child support can be essential to the family stability of children of unmarried teen mothers. While the number of births to teen mothers decreased between 1970 and 1985 from 656,000 to 477,700, the number of unmarried teen mothers increased from 199,900 to 280,300. This paper presents guidelines for counselors to assist young mothers. Establishing paternity is essential for the emotional health of the child, providing a sense of belonging and family ties with the father's family. Child support is important, even at a minimum if the father is unemployed, to establish a pattern for long-term financial support. In addition, families who receive AFDC assistance are required to cooperate with the State child support collection services. Potential areas of difficulty in establishing paternity and child support include social attitudes and stereotypes, concerns of the young mother and father, and practical and procedural challenges. 6 references.
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