Child support enforcement for teenage fathers: Problems and prospects
M. A. Pirog-Good
D. H. Good
The NLSY data indicate that about 7.3 percent of teenage males become fathers and that very few of these fathers live with their children. Father absence and the concurrent increase in female-headed households are closely associated with the impoverishment of children. Most absent teen fathers never come into contact with the child support enforcement program, and the extent to which they financially support their children informally is not well understood. While the income of absent teen fathers is low in the teen years, it increases over time, as does the potential for collecting child support. Nevertheless, men who were absent teen fathers earn less in early adulthood than men who deferred parenting until age twenty or later and teen fathers who lived with their children. Early establishment of paternity and greater standardization in the treatment of adolescent fathers by the child support enforcement program are recommended. Further, the substantial and persistent income deficit experienced by adolescent fathers who live apart from their children raises an interesting dilemma. While children may benefit financially and psychosocially from living with two parents, the lower income of men who were absent teenage fathers may make them poor marital prospects. This raises doubts about the recent recommendations of some scholars that we should bring back the shotgun wedding.
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