Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre


The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the current experiences of immigrant Latino fathers and their families in Southern California, and to examine the barriers and facilitators that impacted their paternal involvement. The literature suggests that father-absence diminishes the ability of a child to thrive in life and yet immigrant Latino fathers are more at risk of all the factors that lead to father-absence, such as poverty and other added stressors. Likewise, these fathers have been noted to experience a lack of fathering in their childhood, which speaks on generational trauma creating the father wound within a family indicating the need for healing on childhood pain.

The study used a qualitative design with individual, in-depth interviews of ten participants recruited through snowball sampling and a non-profit faith-based organization. The interviews were conducted using a custom designed semi-structured interview guide to examine father’s and adult family members’ experiences and views of fatherhood, factors that influenced involvement with children, and impacts of immigration and cultural differences between home and adopted communities. The researcher conducted all of the interviews in Spanish. The interviews were transcribed by a professional transcription service and reviewed by the researcher for accuracy.

The findings suggest that the barriers and facilitators to Latino paternal involvement within the immigrant population include the following: fatherlessness, present but inattentive fathers, values and beliefs that help and hinder, legal status, and painful childhoods with positive role models. The results of this study have implications for social work research, practice, and policy, including culturally sensitive evidence-based practices, cultural competency trainings, awareness and policy advocacy on immigration state laws, as well as partnerships with grassroots organizations providing accessible resources for the undocumented community.