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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between resident and nonresident fathers?

The resident father was identified during the parent interview as the person who resided in the household who was either the child’s biological/adoptive/step-/foster father or the person identified as the partner or spouse of the parent interview respondent (i.e., was the father figure or played an important role in the child’s life). As the partner or spouse of the parent respondent, the person completing the resident father questionnaire could be the child’s grandfather if the child’s grandmother was the parent respondent, or the male partner of the child’s mother.

For the ECLS-B, fathers identified as eligible for the nonresident questionnaire had to be the child’s biological father, could not reside in the household with the child, and had to meet one of the following criteria: (1) the father must have seen the child at least once in the last month; (2) the father must have seen the child at least 7 days in the last 3 months; or (3) the father must have been in touch with the child’s birth mother at least once a month in the 3 months preceding the parent interview. Contact was defined as a telephone call or an in-person visit. Additionally, the biological mother had to be the respondent for the parent interview and she had to give permission for the nonresident biological father to be contacted.

Are all fathers surveyed in all data waves?

Both resident fathers and nonresident biological fathers were surveyed in the first two waves of data collection (at 9 months and 2 years). Only resident fathers were surveyed during the preschool data collection. No fathers were surveyed during the kindergarten collections unless they were the primary caregiver and responded to the parent interview during the home visit.