The dynamics of shared care in

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Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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The dynamics of shared care in
the UK

Stephen McKay

Professor of Social Research

School of Social Policy

University of Birmingham, UK

International Society for Child Indicators Conference 2011

Children’s Well
-
Being: The Research & Policy Challenges

Structure


Background


Cross
-
sectional estimates of how care is
shared after relationships break down


Longitudinal analysis of care arrangements


Effects of care arrangements on child
outcomes



Work in progress


all suggestions welcome

UK (England & Wales) context #1


On separation: ‘legal custody’ of children, through
parental
responsibility
, is usually shared/joint


‘physical custody’ [
residence
] and ‘access’ [
contact
] on
separation is usually determined by the parents by
agreement. Courts prefer not to make an order.


c
ourts may make orders, including ‘[shared] residence
orders’ in disputed cases, applying test of
‘best interests of
the child’


Relating to
residence

and
contact

(‘physical custody’ and
‘access’)


Individual cases, not presumptions:


e
.g. ‘The
Court of Appeal held that there was no presumption against
contact simply because
domestic violence
was alleged or
proved’. Re
F
(A Child) (Contact Order) [2001] 1 FCR 422


Not all are impressed …

UK context #2


Concerns that


Orders not ‘fair’


Biased towards mothers / resident parents


Ignoring past division of responsibilities


Orders not met


Hostile mothers preventing contact and going unpunished


Uninvolved fathers not taking up contact


Some discussion of a
legal presumption
of shared care
as being in child’s best interests [Australia]


Are English courts moving in this direction in practice?


Few large
-
scale studies, even fewer longitudinal in
Britain (Amato
and
Gilbreth

(1999) '
Nonresident

Fathers and Children's Well
-
Being: A
Meta
-
Analysis‘)


Early estimates of shared care

Bradshaw &

Millar: lone parents 1989

Bradshaw, Stimson,

Skinner & Williams
:
absent fathers 1996

Twice a week or more

12

“Shared care”

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Sample size

1417

620

More recent estimates

BHPS 2002

BHPS 2007

U.
Soc

2009

Arrangement

Resident

Absent

Resident

Absent

Absent

Shared care 50/50

1

3

1

2

3

Almost everyday

7

10

7

10

15

Several times a week

15

22

19

24

22

About once a week

16

22

20

22

19

Several times a
month

14

13

13

14

13

Once a month or less

8

4

6

6

5

A few times a year

9

7

7

8

10

Never

32

19

27

14

13

Sample size

870

423

647

308

619

Data


Families and Children Study (FACS) 2002
-
2008


‘Rotating panel’, built from Child Benefit
recipients


Questions asked at
child
-
level

regarding
contact with non
-
resident parent


Same questions asked each year


hence may
track over time at child level


Later waves are low
-
income and lone
-
parent
biased, corrected by weighting

Arrangements: average ages of
children (red line =
avg

age all children)

Few differences in incomes [of the
resident family] by arrangement

Relationship between resident and
non
-
resident parent

20

16

15

8

28

13

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Don't know or can't say
Mixed - sometimes friendly, sometimes
not
Very unfriendly
Not very friendly
Quite friendly
Very friendly
Overview of longitudinal data


23,500 children with average of 3.7 years
observed [87,500 ‘observations’]


13,500 some experience of being apart from parent
(lone parents are over
-
sampled) with 27,000
observations


Considerable change over time:


9% see absent parent daily in any given year; 17% say
this at least once during their survey involvement


26% never see absent parent; 34% say this at least
once

Annual

changes in contact [row %]

This

year

Previous

year

More

frequent

Same

Less

frequent

At least once a day

-

52

48

At least once a week

6

73

21

At least once a fortnight

21

52

27

At least once a month

26

40

34

At least once a year

22

55

24

Less often

43

19

38

Never

18

82

-

Measures of child outcomes


Parental assessments of
school work, bullying,
contact with school,
police.


For 3 years, child self
-
completion (if aged 11
-
15): TV viewing, contact
with friends, use of
alcohol and drugs,
parents setting limits, …


Who feels ‘extremely happy’ with:

Family

Life

Intac
t families

63%

43%


Separated and contact

is:

At least once a day

57%

40%

At least once a week

57%

36%

At least once a fortnight

54%

33%

At least once a month

49%

35%

At least once a year

49%

30%

Less often

55%

27%

Never

58%

38%

Models of outcomes


outcome
it

=
x′
it
B

+
cC
it

+
rR
it

+
v
i

+
u
it


x

characteristics of child, mother [father]

C contact arrangements

R parental relationship

v
i

child effect (random intercept or fixed effect?)

Preliminary

regression results
(random intercept models; ‘random
effects’)

Question

Contact between child and
non
-
resident parent

Relationship

between
parents

TV viewing

ns

ns

Maths

ns

Sig

English

Sig

Sig

Science

Sig

Sig

School behaviour

Sig

Sig

View of life

ns

ns

View of family

ns

Sig

Sig means statistically significant at the 5% level.

Conclusions


Arrangements for care after parental separation
change over time,


on average becoming less frequent, but


s
ome ‘no contact’ cases start to have contact


Infrequent contact seemingly associated with
worse outcomes than no contact, or frequent
contact


(multivariate) Some child outcomes related to
both contact frequency and parental relationship,
though latter is more common


Ends


questions?


s.d.mckay@bham.ac.uk