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The impact of the Georgia fatherhood program on employment and wages (Bloomer & Sipe 2003)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Bloomer, S. R. & Sipe, T. A. (2003). The impact of the Georgia fatherhood program on employment and wages. Journal of Social Services Research, 29(4), 53-65.

Highlights

  • The study's objective was to examine the impact of the Georgia Fatherhood Program on employment and earnings.
  • The study used a nonexperimental comparison group design. Data were collected through in-person surveys conducted at pretest and posttest. The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and comparison group members.
  • The study found a statistically significantly relationship between the Georgia Fatherhood Program and increased employment.
  • This study receives a low evidence rating. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Georgia Fatherhood Program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Georgia Fatherhood Program

Features of the Intervention

The Georgia Fatherhood Program (GFP), started in 1997 and expanded statewide in 1998, was created by the state's Office of Child Support Enforcement. The primary goal of the program is to increase child support payments made by noncustodial fathers. Serving approximately 3,000 men each year, the GFP provides job and life skills training through Georgia's technical colleges. The program serves noncustodial fathers who have a child support payment order or owe back child support, lack a high school diploma or equivalent, are unemployed or underemployed, or have been referred by their case worker.

Features of the Study

The study used a nonexperimental comparison group design, with treatment and comparison group participants selected through convenience sampling. Treatment group participants were recruited at the orientation for the GFP from three locations, described as urban, semi-urban, and rural. The comparison group was recruited from child support offices or courts at undisclosed locations. The study sample included all African American men, and the majority had a high school diploma or equivalent. Only 30 percent of the treatment group were employed at pretest, compared to 79 percent of the comparison group. The treatment group received the GFP intervention, and the comparison group did not receive services through the GFP program.

In-person surveys were conducted at pretest before GFP program orientation (August to December 1999) and at posttest (January to June 2000), both treatment and comparison group participants were contacted by mail or phone to complete the surveys. At pretest, there were 148 noncustodial fathers in the treatment group and 103 in the comparison group. At posttest, there were 76 participants in the treatment group and 47 in the comparison group. Only 19 treatment participants and 27 comparison group participants had wage data at pretest and posttest. The authors conducted statistical tests to compare the outcomes of treatment and comparison group members.

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • The study found no statistically significant relationship between the Georgia Fatherhood Program and hourly wages from pretest to posttest.

Employment

  • The study found that the employment rate for the treatment group was significantly different from pretest (30%) to posttest (66%); the employment rate of the comparison group did not differ significantly.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation. They found that the pretest employment rate was significantly different between the groups but did not control for it in the analyses. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the GFP—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention or include sufficient control variables. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Georgia Fatherhood Program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

June 2022

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