Child welfare : journal of policy, practice, and program.
Five focus groups substantially agreeed about the lack of paternal participation in child welfare services and the reasons for low paternal involvement. The groups had considerable disagreement about whether child welfare professionals should address this issue. Some caseworkers believed that all fathers and mothers should be treated identically with respect to services to be offered and time frames for services; other caseworkers thought that the special circumstances of some fathers, such as lack of child care experience, called for service approaches that differ from those for mothers. Another disagreement was whether more fathers would be more involved if services were gender sensitive, that is, if agencies provided male caseworkers for fathers and had father-only services. Much of the debate focused on pragmatic considerations (would gender-sensitive services improve paternal participation and outcomes?), although some participants were concerned about equity (would such services give fathers an advantage in disputed custody cases?). (Author abstract)
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