Leaving the Street: Young Fathers Move From Hustling to Legitimate Work.

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Kotloff, Lauren J.
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This interview study is part of a larger evaluation that P/PV is conducting of the Fathers at Work demonstration, which enrolled 1,222 men across the six sites. The full study will assess program outcomes, using surveys administered to all participants at the time of their enrollment and again 12 to 18 months later. In order to gain a more detailed understanding of the participants' lives, P/PV undertook an in-depth interview study of a sample of 37 Fathers at Work participants from three of the six sites. As the men began sharing their stories with P/PV interviewers, it became clear that, before enrolling in Fathers at Work, all but 10 had earned money by hustling, and most of the men who hustled had been incarcerated. At the same time, data from the initial survey of participants in the full demonstration indicated that a sizable proportion-- 20 percent--reported earning money through illegal means in the month prior to enrolling in Fathers at Work. Approximately 76 percent of the full sample had been convicted of a crime. Men who have earned money illegally present unique challenges to programs designed to help them find stable employment. Many have a criminal background that creates a serious obstacle to securing a job, and their history of relying on hustling as a primary or supplementary source of income is likely to affect their long-term job retention rates. Learning more about their behavior and motivations could lead to more effective ways of helping them gain a stable foothold in the legitimate labor market.

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