Natasha J. Cabrera & Ron Mincy

Natasha J. Cabrera is a professor of human development and director of the Family Involvement Laboratory at the University of Maryland. 

Ron Mincy is director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being at Columbia University, and a professor of social policy and social work practice at Columbia’s School of Social Work.

Recent Articles

Papa’s Not a Rolling Stone: Low-Income Men and Their Children

Kids benefit when their dads make more time for them. Try doing it while juggling two or three minimum-wage jobs.

Dina Uretski/Shutterstock
Dina Uretski/Shutterstock This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of T he American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Papa was a rolling stone, Wherever he laid his hat was his home And when he died, all he left us was alone. —The Temptations T here is a widespread belief that poor men make bad fathers because they can’t or won’t support their families and are often absent from their children’s lives. The perception of the deadbeat, uninvolved dad has been fueled by national statistics about the rates of marriage, cohabitation, employment, and child-support payments among poor men. These national findings, however, depict averages and do not reveal the personal struggles of low-income fathers and the individual stories behind the statistics. A burgeoning body of social science research on how poor men engage with their children presents a much more nuanced story. This research finds that many poor men are very much involved in their children’s lives, including reading and...