For the roughly 150,000 babies born each year to unwed minors, paternity establishment is a complicated issue. Paternity establishment provides children with crucial financial and emotional support and access to larger extended families. At the same time, it can cause problems for minor parents: immature youngsters might enter an ill-advised marriage; a young man might sign an acknowledgment for a child who is not his genetic offspring; or a young woman who is a victim of incest or statutory rape might be better off if paternity is not established. The potential rights, limitations, and obligations of the minor parents, their babies, and the grandparents all need to be considered in developing thoughtful approaches to this issue. This policy brief (which is based on a longer report) offers recommendations to states for developing consistent laws and policies to address paternity establishment among minor parents. (Author abstract)
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