Social Policies and Fathering
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This chapter provides a broad overview of policies pertaining to paternity establishment, income and child support, childcare, work and family, and their associations with family and child well-being in different cultural communities. Child support enforcement provides mothers with additional income, decreases the likelihood of receiving welfare assistance, and may lift children out of poverty and reduce the poverty gap. Maternity leave uptake is associated with less maternal stress during pregnancy and maternal postpartum depression, lower infant and child mortality rates, longer breastfeeding and time spent with infant and less low birthweight and premature births in developed countries. European Union legislation suggests that women should take at least two weeks mandatory, and up to 14 weeks optional, paid maternity leave. The United States is one of the few western countries that do not offer paid maternity leave. Ethnotheories or cultural scripts about gender roles can be a factor in the use of paternal leave across countries.