Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Richard Lyle. Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert W. Waymer. Ph.D.

Third Advisor

M. Sebrena Jackson. Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to determine in what ways incarceration, undocumented paternity, substance abuse, and parental conflict create barriers to father involvement and family reunification with children in the Georgia foster care system. The study is designed to explore the impact that child welfare workers have on these four major barriers preventing fathers' lack of participation.

The participants of the study are social workers and case managers who work with fathers and their children who are in the custody of the Georgia Department of Human Services foster care system. In addition, this study explores ways in which social work practices mandate the importance of reaching out to fathers in every client's case. As well, consideration is given to the historic, cultural and psychosocial barriers that the child welfare system must address in the family reunification process.

Furthermore, this study challenges the child welfare system to offer services and make intentional efforts to engage the fathers' participation in all aspects of their child's case including, but not limited to, assessments, medical treatment and family conferences. Finally, this study further advocates a paradigm shift in the culture of the child welfare system to fulfill the goal of foster care, which is family reunification.

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