Jane Reeves, Dr* - University of Greenwich, UK
Research on disadvantaged young fathers has been minimally addressed in the literature, particularly in the UK. In both countries teenage pregnancy rates are high and costly in terms of social policy and community provision. This paper explores 2 studies involving 24 young men with an average age of 17 on the transition to young fatherhood; one study was conducted in the UK with white young men and the other in the USA with black young men. The findings from both studies indicated common themes from their stories, particularly with regard to the high levels of disadvantage and social exclusion they had been exposed to in their demographic environments and the anti-social behaviour they described engaging in, prior to the birth of their child/ren. Specifically, a significant proportion of the young men described how they had been immersed in drug and gun crimes and how this shaped their lives and neighbourhoods. Becoming fathers is presented by both sets of young men as rescuing them from this criminal lifestyle.