The Role of Social Networks Among Low-Income Fathers: Findings from the PACT Evaluation
- The average scope of PACT fathers’ social networks was small compared with national norms, although the number of connections varied; 15 percent of participating fathers reported no ties to their family or to friends; 44 percent had 1–4 connections to family or friends; and 41 percent had five or more connections.
- Those with ties to both family and friends used their social networks for all four types of support examined in the study: financial, in-kind, emotional, and housing. In contrast, the 24 fathers with primarily family ties mainly benefited from family members’ emotional support and depended on them less frequently for financial or in-kind support.
- Fathers with larger social networks named twice as many organizational sources of support as fathers with fewer or no social ties did.
- Fathers who had no connections to family or friends attributed their isolation to family members’ death or abandonment and expressed a general distrust of peers. Also, former friends and peers in these fathers’ lives often remain involved in the undesirable activities these fathers no longer wish to be involved in.
Parents and Children Together (PACT)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation