Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Susan Gooden


A putative father registry represents a legal option for unmarried males who wish to secure legal notice regarding an adoption proceeding for a child they may have fathered. Putative father registries must balance the interests of the putative father against those of the child, the birth mother, and the adoptive parents. This study utilized a framework adapted from the Multiple Constituency Model and used social justice, as indicated by distributive justice and procedural justice, to determine the perceptions among primary constituency groups of the Virginia Putative Father Registry. This research utilized a mixed-methods approach to analyze qualitative data from focus groups in combination with quantitative results from an online survey. The results of the qualitative analysis revealed eight principal findings: First, nearly all putative fathers were unaware of the existence of putative father registry in general, or the Virginia Putative Father Registry in particular. Second, putative fathers were unaware that sex is legal notice in Virginia. Third, once aware of the concept of a putative father registry, the focus group males had positive opinions about putative father registries and the Virginia Putative Father Registry. Fourth, putative fathers preferred to receive notice through the mail regarding an alleged child. Fifth, putative fathers have a negative opinion of providing notice by posting it in newspapers. Sixth, promoting awareness of putative father registries needs to target male audiences and preferably have an interactive component. Seventh, putative fathers expressed strong positive feelings about knowing about a child they may have fathered being placed for adoption. Finally, single male participants in the focus groups were more convinced about the importance of a putative father registry in comparison to married male participants. Quantitative survey data indicated that putative fathers were perceived as the primary constituent group that would benefit the most from a putative father registry. The safeguard variable was significant as it relates to occupation, putative fathers and birth mothers. The study also found that survey respondents indicated that the general public was not aware of putative father registries, and this perception was borne out in focus group results.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2013