Father Involvement in Young Children’s Lives

Volume 6 of the series Educating the Young Child pp 107-122


Incarcerated Fathers

Implications for Father Involvement
  • Michael E. RoettgerAffiliated withPrevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , Raymond R. SwisherAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Bowling Green State University

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In the United States, father’s incarceration has become an increasingly common event in the lives of children, impacting an estimated 1.5 million children annually, or about 13 % of all persons at some point in their childhood. Father’s incarceration is associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes in childhood and adolescence, including: externalizing behavior, depression, drug use, and poor educational outcomes. In this chapter, we review trends in father’s incarceration, differences across subgroups of the population, and discuss its consequences for father involvement and child outcomes. We also discuss the policy and practice implications of existing research in the field.


Father involvement Children of incarcerated parents Effects of incarceration on children Maternal gatekeeping Collateral consequences of incarceration Early childhood development Incarcerated fathers Incarceration in families