Key Findings for Policy Makers

May 16, 2016

The Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study was originally designed to primarily address four questions of great interest to researchers and policy makers: (1) What are the conditions and capabilities of unmarried parents, especially fathers?; (2) What is the nature of the relationships between unmarried parents?; (3) How do children born into FFCWS families fare?; and (4) What role do policies and environmental conditions play in the lives of FFCWS families? In the almost 20 years since its beginning, FFCWS has identified a variety of findings that are relevant to policy makers and practitioners. Here are 10 of our top findings:




1 & 2.  Sara McLanahan. 2009. "Fragile Families and the Reproduction of Poverty"  The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 621(1): 111-131.

Sara McLanahan.  2011. "Family Instability and Complexity after a Nonmarital Birth: Outcomes for Children in Fragile Families" Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America. Eds. Marcia J. Carlson and Paula England. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 108-133.

3. Fuhua Zhai, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Jane Waldfogel.  2011. "Head Start and Urban Children’s School Readiness: A Birth Cohort Study in 18 Cities" Developmental Psychology. 47(1): 134-152.

4. Christopher Wildeman. 2014. "Parental Incarceration, Child Homelessness, and the Invisible Consequences of Mass Imprisonment" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. 651(1): 74-96.

5. Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Irwin Garfinkel. 2011. "Fathers’ Involvement with Their Nonresident Children and Material Hardship" Social Service Review. 85(1): 3-38.

6. Janet Currie, Valentina Duque, Irwin Garfinkel. 2015. "The Great Recession and Mothers' Health" The Economic Journal. 125(588): F311-F346.

7. Irwin Garfinkel, Afshin Zilanawala. 2015. "Fragile Families in the American Welfare State" Children and Youth Services Review. 55: 210-221.

8. Melissa Martinson, Sara McLanahan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. 2015. "Variation in Child Body Mass Index Patterns by Race/Ethnicity and Maternal Nativity Status in the United States and England" Maternal and Child Health Journal. 19(2): 373-380.

Rachel Kimbro, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Sara McLanahan. 2007. "Racial and Ethnic Differentials in Children’s Overweight and Obesity Among 3-Year-Old Children" American Journal of Public Health. 97(2): 298-305.

9. Michael MacKenzie, Eric Nicklas, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Jane Waldfogel. 2015. "Spanking and Children’s Externalizing Behavior Across the First Decade of Life: Evidence for Transactional Processes" Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 44(3): 658-669.

10. Colter Mitchell, John Hobcraft, Sara McLanahan, Susan Rutherford Siegel, Arthur Berg, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Irwin Garfinkel, Daniel Notterman. 2014. "Social Disadvantage, Genetic Sensitivity, and Children’s Telomere Length" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(16): 5944-5949.