«Evidence of the Effectiveness of Child Support and Visitation: Examining Food Insecurity among Children with Nonresident Fathers Steven Garasky Æ ...»
All analyses were weighted using NSAF sample weights. Reference categories in italics *p 0.10 **p 0.05 ***p 0.01 for the severity measures. Furthermore, while any amount of visiting is typically found to be negatively related to aspects of food insecurity, the relationship is statistically signiﬁcant only for visiting more than once a week, the most frequent level of visitation measured.
Child support receipt does not have the same consistently signiﬁcantly negative impact on our indicators of food insecurity that is found with father visitation. With respect to each individual indicator of food insecurity, child support receipt is found to be effective in reducing only the likelihood that the adults in the resident family’s household ever had to cut the size of their meals or had to skip meals. Only this relationship is statistically signiﬁcant. The negative relationships between child support receipt and whether the receiving family reports worrying if food will run out, and child support receipt and ever having food not last are not statistically signiﬁcant. Child support receipt signiﬁcantly (p 0.10) reduces the likelihood of experiencing all three types of food insecurity. We hypothesize that the small amounts of child support received by families who receive it are not sufﬁcient or consistent enough to impact their ability to access an adequate amount of food on a regular basis. Even with additional child support income, these low-income families continue to worry about having enough food and continue to experience times when there is not enough food for everyone to eat.
This paper examined how nonresidential father involvement affects the ability of the resident child’s family to have access to enough food for active, healthy living. Our ﬁndings suggest that paying child support is only one way that nonresident fathers can positively affect the well being of their children. Our results indicate that, among low-income families, children whose fathers are frequent visitors are less likely to experience the aspects of food insecurity examined here. While child support payments likely have an impact, we have less evidence that receiving child support ameliorates food acquisition problems among low-income children.
J Fam Econ Iss (2007) 28:105–121 119 We identiﬁed several ways in which involvement by nonresident fathers may affect food insecurity. Our results indicate that low-income families need more than their household income and child support dollars to meet their food needs. It appears that the small amount of child support received by the relatively few families that receive it may only moderate the severity of their food insecurity. Our results do not suggest that fathers who visit frequently increase food insecurity by behaving as the family breadwinner and discouraging receipt of assistance from outside sources.
Regarding father involvement, more likely scenarios might be that fathers who visit regularly provide in-kind support to their children in the form of clothes and gifts (which may free up more of the mother’s income for food), as well as food and/or dinners out. Fathers who visit also may monitor mothers’ spending habits with respect to their children.
Our results contribute to a growing literature suggesting that paying child support is just one aspect of fathering, and that visiting as well as paying child support can improve the health and well being of children. For example, a recent study by Menning (2004) indicates that visitation with nonresident fathers is associated with less cigarette smoking by adolescents. Perhaps child support payments alone are an inadequate indicator of low-income nonresident fathers’ contributions to their children’s lives. In results not shown, we found weak evidence that children with high-visiting nonresident fathers (more than once a week) are less likely to receive child support than children whose fathers visit a moderate amount (monthly). This suggests that low-income nonresident fathers might be substituting visits for child support payments.
In summary, it is obvious that there is a great deal more to understand about the potential beneﬁts of nonresident father involvement. As child support enforcement becomes more rigorous (Bartfeld, 2003; Bartfeld & Meyer, 2003; Garasky, 2000), it is important and timely to investigate how parental involvement that is encouraged by current social and welfare policy affects resident family assistance program participation and other outcomes such as their ability to meet their food needs. Furthermore, it is clear that understanding the effects of child support and visitation on these outcomes requires better data. We support those advocating that surveys expand their data gathering efforts in these areas (Argys et al., 2006; Garasky et al., 2006).
The goals of the federal child support enforcement program include fostering responsible behavior toward children. In light of this goal, our ﬁndings suggest that policymakers should continue to recognize and encourage nonresident parents’ nonmonetary contributions to their children’s lives. Policies and programs that capitalize on the ability of nonresident parents to provide informal resources to their children may ﬁnd that this is another effective way to enhance child well being, especially for low-income single mother families whose nonresident fathers often have low incomes as well.
Alaimo, K., Olson, C. M., & Frongillo, E. A. (2001). Food insufﬁciency and children’s health status in the United States: Findings from NHANES III. In M. Andrews and M. Prell (Eds.), Second food security measurement and research conference, Volume II: Papers (pp. 110–121). Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Food Assistance and Nutrition Report 11–2.
120 J Fam Econ Iss (2007) 28:105–121
Amato, P. R., & Gilbreth, J. G. (1999). Nonresident fathers and children’s well-being: A metaanalysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 557–573.
Arendell, T. (1995). Fathers and Divorce. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Argys, L. M., Peters, H. E., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Smith, J. R. (1998). The impact of child support on cognitive outcomes of young children. Demography, 35(2), 159–173.
Argys, L., Peters, E., Cook, S., Garasky, S., Nepomnyaschy, L., & Sorensen, E. (2006). Measuring contact between children and nonresident fathers. In S. L., Hofferth, & L. M., Casper (Eds.), Handbook of measurement issues in family research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Bartfeld, J. (2003). Falling through the cracks: Gaps in child support among welfare recipients.
Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 72–89.
Bartfeld, J., & Meyer, D. R. (2003). Child support compliance among discretionary and nondiscretionary obligors. Social Service Review, 77, 347–372.
Bellisle, F. (2004). Effects of diet on behaviour and cognition in children. British Journal of Nutrition, 92(Suppl 2), S227–S232.
Coe, R. D., & Hill, D.H. (1998). Food stamp participation and reasons for nonparticipation: 1986.
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 19, 107–130.
Del Boca, D., & Flinn, C. J. (1994). Expenditure decisions of divorced mothers and income composition. Journal of Human Resources, 29, 742–761.
Flores-Cervantes, I., Brick, J. M., & DiGaetano, R. (1997). 1997 Variance estimation. (NSAF 1997 Methodology Report No. 4). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
Food and Nutrition Service, United States Department of Agriculture (2004). Food Stamp Program.
Retrieved from http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/default.htm. Accessed April 20, 2004.
Garasky, S. B. (2000). Wage withholding: Its effect on monthly child support payments and its potential for making child support a reliable source of income. In J. M. Mercier, S. B. Garasky, &
M. C., Shelley, II (Eds.). Redeﬁning family policy: Implications for the 21st Century. Ames, IA:
Iowa State University Press.
Garasky, S., Peters, E., Argys, L., Cook, S., Nepomnyaschy, L., & Sorensen, E. (2006). Measuring support to children by nonresident fathers. In S. L., Hofferth, & L. M., Casper (Ed.), Handbook of measurement issues in family research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gibson, E. L., & Green, M. W. (2002). Nutritional inﬂuences on cognitive function: Mechanisms for susceptibility. Nutrition Research Reviews, 15(1), 169–206.
Graham, J. W., Beller, A. H., & Hernandez, P. M. (1994). The effects of child support on educational attainment. In I., Garﬁnkel, S. S., McLanahan, & P. K., Robins (Eds.), Child support and child well-being. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.
Grall, T. S. (2003). Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2001. (Current Population Reports, P60-225). Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.
Greif, G. L. (1985). Single fathers. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Gundersen, C., & Gruber J. (2001). The dynamic determinants of food insufﬁciency. In M. Andrews & M. Prell (Eds.), Second food security measurement and research conference, Volume II: Papers (pp. 92–109). Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Food Assistance and Nutrition Report 11–2.
Hamer, J. (1997). The fathers of ‘‘fatherless’’ black children. Families in Society, 78, 564–578.
Johnson, E. S., & Doolittle F. (1998). Low-income parents and the Parents’ Fair Share Program. In I., Garﬁnkel, S. S., McLanahan, D. R., Meyer, & J. A., Seltzer (Eds.), Fathers under ﬁre (pp. 253– 301). New York: Russell Sage.
Johnston, F. E., & Markowitz, D. (1993). Do poverty and malnutrition affect children’s growth and development: Are the data there? In R. J., Karp, (Ed.), Malnourished children in the United States: Caught in the cycle of poverty. (pp. 3–12). New York: Springer.
King, V., Harris, K. M., & Heard, H. E. (2004). Racial and ethnic diversity in nonresident father involvement. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 1–21.
Knox, V. W. (1996). The effects of child support payments on developmental outcomes for elementary school-age children. The Journal of Human Resources, 31, 816–840.
Knox, V. W., & Bane, M. J. (1994). Child support and schooling. In I. Garﬁnkel, S. S., McLanahan, & P. K., Robins (Eds.), Child support and child well-being. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.
Mayer, S. (1997). More than money. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
McLanahan, S., Seltzer, J., Hanson, T., & Thomson, E. (1994). Child support enforcement and child well-being: Greater security or greater conﬂict? In I., Garﬁnkel, S., McLanahan, & P. K., Robins (Eds.), Child support and child well-being. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
J Fam Econ Iss (2007) 28:105–121 121
Menning, C. (2004). Nonresident father involvement and adolescents’ smoking. San Francisco, CA:
Paper presented at the American Sociological Association annual meetings.
Morley, R., & Lucas, A. (1997). Nutrition and cognitive development. British Medical Bulletin, 53, 123–134.
Nord, M., & Andrews, M. (2003). Putting food on the table: Household food security in the United States. Amber Waves, 1, 22–29.
Nord, M, Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. (2003). Household food security in the United States, 2002.
(FANRR No. 35). Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture.
Nord, M, Andrews, M., & Carlson, S. (2005). Household food security in the United States, 2004.
(Economic Research Report No. 11). Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture.
Ofﬁce of Child Support Enforcement (2003). FY 2002 Annual Statistical Report. Washington, DC:
US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families.
Seccombe, K. (1999). So you think i drive a cadillac? Welfare recipients’ perspectives on the system and its reform. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Seltzer, J. A. (1991). Relationships between fathers and children who live apart: The father’s role after separation. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 79–101.
Seltzer, J. A. (1994). Consequences of marital dissolution on children. Annual Review of Sociology, 20, 235–266.
Seltzer, J. A., Scheaffer, N. C., & Charng, H. W. (1989). Family ties after divorce: The relationship between visiting and paying child support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 1013–1032.
Sorensen, E. (1997). A national proﬁle of nonresident fathers and their ability to pay child support.
Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 785–797.
Stewart, S. D. (2003). Nonresident parenting and adolescent adjustment: The quality of nonresident father-child interaction. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 217–244.
Stier H., & Tienda, M. (1993). Are men marginal to the family? In J. C., Hood (Ed.), Men, work, and family (pp. 23–44). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Urban Institute. (2005). Assessing the New Federalism. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/Content/Research/NewFederalism/AboutANF/AboutANF.htm. Accessed July 27, 2005.