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Child Support in a Complex-Family Society: It’s Critical, but It’s Broken

EVT 546
Apr 24
7:30 pm (Doors 7:00 pm)
Bishop Auditorium, Lathrop Library
Status: No Registration Required
SERIES: A New Social Compact? Rising Inequality, Intransigent Poverty, and the Path Forward

We are all familiar with the social sciences as an academic category, but we don’t often stop to think about how much is bundled into this modest label: anthropology, economics, law, linguistics, political science, communication, psychology, and sociology, just for a start. Scholars in these fields have a shared goal: to understand how we live together, what works and what doesn’t in our social lives, and how we could do it all better.

In 2004, Stanford established the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (known colloquially as IRiSS and pronounced like the flower) to give researchers the space and leisure to work on these goals. In this annual series of public lectures, the Executive Director of IRiSS invites colleagues to Stanford for a discussion of each guest’s research and to give you, the audience, ample time to engage in the conversation. This year's series, A New Social Compact?, was organized in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

Child Support in a Complex-Family Society: It’s Critical, but It’s Broken

Family instability and complexity have grown dramatically in the United States in recent decades, trends that are concentrated among the most disadvantaged of our citizens. Child support is critical but our policies are ill-equipped to handle the reality of today’s families. Drawing on more than 400 in-depth interviews with low-income noncustodial fathers, Kathryn Edin of Johns Hopkins argues that child support is the key institution to insuring that resources flow from the noncustodial parent to the child. Child support must deliver as many paternal resources—both material and socioemotional— to children as possible through strengthening co-parenting relationships and father/child bonds.

This program is co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies, IRiSS, and the Center on Poverty and Inequality.

Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

Kathryn Edin is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers. She deploys ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and mixed method approaches to the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts. She is also a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and on the Department of Health and Human Services advisory committee for the poverty research centers at the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin and at Stanford. She received a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University.
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