This policy brief, published by the Brookings Institute, presents major findings and policy recommendations based on results from The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. The study shows that a large number of parents are not married when they have a child, which contributes to problems with parenting, couples' relationships, and children's well-being. Also, many unwed parents may be in close relationships when children are born, but few of these relationships last. Unwed parents often have characteristics (i.e., low education, poor health) that make finding employment, forming stable relationships, and appropriate parenting more challenging and less likely. These characteristics have detrimental effects on child development (e.g., poor test performance, behavioral problems). To counter these negative outcomes, services offered to expectant couples -- when the father is most likely still involved -- that also include relationship skills training can promote healthy and stable couple and co-parenting relationships.
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