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Leaving the Street: Young Fathers Move From Hustling to Legitimate Work

NCJ Number
Lauren J. Kotloff
Date Published
February 2005
52 pages
This study examined the experiences of a subgroup of participants in the Fathers at Work program, an initiative designed to help low-income, noncustodial fathers secure a living-wage job, increase their involvement with their children, and fulfill their child-support obligations.
Fathers at Work was launched in 2001 in six sites across the country. Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) managed the initiative, provided assistance on employment, and evaluated the demonstration. The interview study reported in this monograph was part of a larger evaluation being conducted across the six sites. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 37 participants at 3 of the 6 sites. Prior to entering Fathers at Work, all but 10 of these men had earned money by "hustling," primarily selling drugs, but in 2 cases, committing robberies and burglaries. The experiences of these 27 men were the focus of this study. The men ranged in age from 19 to 30; 21 were African-American, and 6 were Hispanic. All were noncustodial parents of at least one child. The analysis of the interviews with these men sought to determine what approaches programs could take to increase the likelihood that such men will find jobs and remain in the formal labor market. One chapter describes why the men became involved in hustling and why they wanted to change their lives. Another chapter examines their experiences with legitimate work, how they moved between hustling and work, and their motivations for doing so. A third chapter considers how the men responded to the program's attempts to help them make the transition to full-time legitimate work. Their success after 1 year in the program is assessed, and recommendations for program improvement are offered. 31 notes, 17 references, and appended supplementary information