Fatherhood and the Unmarried Adolescent African-American Male Essay

Fatherhood and the Unmarried Adolescent African-American Male Essay

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Just about a quarter of all children are now born out of wedlock.... Add to that the substantial fraction of children born into marriages that will not survive.... What do these high rates of marital instability imply for patterns of childbearing, and especially for fathers’ involvement with their children? (Furstenberg & Harris, 1992, p. 199)

The vast amount of research on the topic of adolescent pregnancies has historically focused on the female (such as Furstenberg, 1976 and Stack, 1974). Social scientists have tried to understand the problem and also help the adolescent mother following her decision to give birth to a child. In some places, such as Oakland, California, 73% of adolescents giving birth are African American (Smith, 1988, p.269; Massey, 1991, p. 117). With this in mind, social workers have spent most of their efforts helping adolescent African-American women. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Aid to Families of Dependent Children (AFDC) offer help for many women and their children. Unfortunately, the social workers usually “viewed Black adolescent fathers either as a cause of the problem of adolescent parenthood or as a partial solution in their assigned role of financial provider” (Smith, 1988, p. 269).


Introductory quote focuses on an important public conversation about children born out of wedlock and fathers' involvement with their children. Furtstenburg is considered an expert on the topic of pregnancy among adolescents and the changing American family. The writer further identifies the context for the research as the social sciences and suggests how this research has influenced social workers. Sources provide general background information, sp...


... middle of paper ...


...ing American family: Sociological and demographic perspectives (pp. 197-223). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Furstenberg, F. (1976). Unplanned parenthood: The social consequences of teenage childbearing. New York: Free Press.

Hendricks, L. E. (1988). A preliminary report on three ethnic groups. Adolescence, 91, 711-720

Horton, C. P. & Smith, J. C. (Eds.) (1990). Statistical record of Black America. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc.

Massey, G. (1991). The flip side of teen mothers: A look at teen fathers. In B. P. Bowser. (Ed.), Black male adolescents: Parenting and education in community context (pp. 117-128). New York: University Press of America.

Smith, L. A. (1988). Black adolescent fathers: Issues for service provision. Social Work, 33. 269-272.

Stack, C. B. (1974). All our kin: Strategies for survival in a black community. New York: Harper & Row.

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