Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


African American fathers, Hispanic American fathers, Low-income fathers, Fatherhood, Father and child, Custodial fathers, Joint custody of children, Parenting, Fathers of color, Joint and custodial fathers of color


The low-income father of color has been poorly represented in research studies relating to positive aspects of their involvement as fathers. Researchers have shown that studies that positively reflect the involvement of fathers are often overrepresented by samples of white fathers, while fathers of color are often labeled as absent, non-resident, peripheral, and deadbeat. Current research is beginning to explore the positive qualities of this marginalized group through studies that document the potential for fathers of color to serve as positive role models. This research gathered data from two focus groups (n=9 and n=5) of low-income African American and Hispanic fathers of color. This study seeks to contribute to the literature by documenting the narrative of 14 joint and custodial fathers of color from New York City. This research found supporting data regarding the existence of nurturing and protective qualities such as, spending quality time with their children and being present physically and emotionally for their children. In addition, these group participant fathers incorporated parenting styles that were protective and directive, which may have been considered necessary living in low-income neighborhoods. This study also showed that changes have occurred in past gender biases in the New York City family court system against fathers seeking custody of their children toward more gender-neutral attitudes. Future studies that build on this one may find similarities between genders, races and people of different socioeconomic status, instead of focusing solely on qualities that tend to stigmatize and demarcate. As research that supports men of color becomes more available, derogatory labels, and stigma could become a thing of the past, as men search for ways to parent their children in ways that accommodate our multicultural society.




iv, 90 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-82)