Deadbeat Dads: New Study Busts The Stereotype Surrounding These Fathers

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Many people assume "deadbeat dads," men who aren't involved in their children's lives and pay little to no child support, are low-income earners. But a new study is busting this stereotype.

According to research by Robert Keefe, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, low-income fathers are actually more involved with their children than ever before. In fact, 94 per cent of mothers interviewed between 1996 and 2011 say that their children’s fathers are “somewhat involved or highly involved with their families.”

“It's not fair to limit defining fatherhood involvement to economics when many of these dads are trying to be good fathers,” Keefe said. “Since all of the fathers in the study were low-income, their economic contributions might not be that great and because of that they're automatically thought of as any number of things we've heard, from deadbeat dads to just being uninvolved.”

Watch the video above to hear how low-income fathers are getting involved in their children’s lives.

Interestingly, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that low-income fathers contributed to their families by providing them with items rather than money for child support. This includes things such as baby products, clothes and school expenses and averaged to about $60 per month.

The study, which looked at over 350 low-income fathers across three U.S. cities, found that 46 per cent contributed to their families this way.

“The most disadvantaged dads end up looking like they’re completely distanced from their kids but they’re actually giving quite a lot,” said study author and sociologist Kathryn Edin. “I was really surprised by how much these disadvantaged guys, these truly marginally employed men, are putting all of this thought and what little resources they have into showing their children that they care.”

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