Head Start and Nonresident Father Involvement

Alexandra Haralampoudis
Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Rutgers University
Louis Donnelly, Rutgers University

The Head Start program has made an explicit commitment to enhancing fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives. However, more than half of children who participate in Head Start do not live with their father. A growing body of work suggests that multiple forms of father involvement (both financial and social/emotional) promote child learning and development, potentially mitigating some of the disadvantages associated with poverty and single parenthood. However, prior Head Start research has largely focused on mothers’ parenting and involvement with children. Using population-based data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we examine associations between children’s Head Start participation and important domains of nonresident father involvement, including material contributions, social involvement, and cooperative parenting. Results indicate that Head Start participation is associated with increased social involvement and cooperative parenting but not material contributions for fathers of 5-yr old children. Future analyses will examine outcomes at age 9.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions