Race differences among noncustodial fathers noncompliant in child support: Involvement and self-perceptions of fathering

Robert Walker, Caroline E. Reid, T. K. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


There are more than 21.2 million children who live with only one parent in the United States (US Census 2007). Of the 13.6 million noncustodial parents, the majority of whom are fathers, more than 2.6 million are low-income fathers who do not pay child support (Sorensen, 2002). This is a diverse group, yet little research has focused on racial differences among low income noncustodial fathers who do not pay child support. Understanding who these fathers are, and how they are involved in their children's lives is important for social policy and for parenting programs that seek to involve fathers beyond financial child support. This paper provides a description of race differences among low-income, noncustodial fathers convicted of the non-payment of child support. Comparisons between White and African American/Black fathers are made for the amount of fathering involvement, the type of fathering involvement, and self-perceptions of fathering. Findings reveal no significant differences between African American/Black and White fathers' type of involvement and perceptions of fathering, although there is a trend for African American/Black fathers to have more contact with their children compared with White fathers. Findings demonstrate that low-income, noncustodial fathers face multiple barriers to staying involved with their children, and practitioners should recognize the context of background factors that might influence father involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by SAMHSA/CSAT grant # 1 H79 TI 12463.


  • Child support
  • Father involvement
  • Low income fathers
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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