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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

How Much In-Kind Support Do Low-Income Nonresident Fathers Provide? A Mixed-Method Analysis

TitleHow Much In-Kind Support Do Low-Income Nonresident Fathers Provide? A Mixed-Method Analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKane, JB, Nelson, T, Edin, K
JournalJ Marriage Fam
Volume77
Pagination591-611
Date PublishedJun 1
ISBN Number0022-2445 (Print)0022-2445
Accession Number26052162
Keywordschild support, family policy-child-related, Low-income families, noncustodial parents
Abstract

Past child support research has largely focused on cash payments made through the courts (formal support) or given directly to the mother (informal support), almost to the exclusion of a third type: non-cash goods (in-kind support). Drawing on repeated, semistructured interviews with nearly 400 low-income noncustodial fathers, the authors found that in-kind support constitutes about one quarter of total support. Children in receipt of some in-kind support receive, on average, $60 per month worth of goods. Multilevel regression analyses demonstrated that children who are younger and have more hours of visitation, as well as those whose father has a high school education and no current substance abuse problem, receive in-kind support of greater value. Yet children whose fathers lack stable employment, or are Black, receive a greater proportion of their total support in kind. A subsequent qualitative analysis revealed that fathers' logic for providing in-kind support is primarily relational, and not financial.

PMCID

Pmc4452028