Head Start Participation and Nonresident Father Involvement

Louis Donnelly, Rutgers University
Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Rutgers University

Head Start’s model for parental engagement aims to enhance relationships between low-income children and their fathers. However, more than half of enrolled children do not have a biological father living at home and these fathers face unique barriers to involvement. No studies have examined the associations of Head Start participation with nonresident fathers’ involvement with their children. This study takes advantage of three waves of follow-up data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative study of children born in the US in 2001, to estimate the impact of Head Start participation on father involvement. Changes in nonresident father contact, responsibility, and financial support among families who participate in Head Start are compared to families with other child-care arrangements. Models control for a rich set of time-varying socio-demographic characteristics of mothers, fathers, and children.

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Presented in Session 116: Policy, Children and Families