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Moreover, research shows that even after one controls for a range of family background differences, children who grow up living in an intact household with both biological parents present seem to do better, on average, on a wide range of social indicators than do children who grow up in a single-parent household (Mc Lanahan and Sandefur, 1994).For example, they are less likely to drop out of school, become a teen parent, be arrested, and be unemployed.The focus on marriage was met with skepticism by others.
, a unique nonpartisan social policy research and demonstration organization dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of disadvantaged families.
We strive to achieve this mission by conducting real world field tests of new policy and program ideas using the most rigorous methods possible to assess their effectiveness.
The central focus of my remarks will be to explicate the role that marital education, family counseling, and related services might play in promoting and strengthening healthy marriages and to discuss what we know about the potential of strategies that seek to ameliorate the key stressors (for example, job loss, lack of income, domestic violence, and childbearing) that make it difficult to form marriages in the first place or act as a catalyst that eventually breaks up existing marriages.
To summarize my conclusions: Marriage, Divorce, and Single Parenthood Encouraging and supporting healthy marriages is a cornerstone of the Bush Administration's proposed policies for addressing the poverty-related woes of single-parent households and, importantly, for improving the well-being of low-income children.
Proponents of this approach argued that many social policies — welfare and tax policy, for example — were actually anti-marriage, even if research only weakly demonstrated that the disincentives to marry embedded in these policies actually affected behavior.
Effects Of Divorce On Kids Essay
Moreover, they maintained that social policy should not be neutral — it should encourage and support healthy marriages — and they stressed the link between child poverty and single parenthood and the positive child effects associated with two-parent families.When Moynihan wrote in 1965, 24 percent of all births among African-Americans occurred outside of marriage.Today, the black out-of-wedlock birthrate is almost 70 percent, and the white rate has reached nearly 24 percent.I am honored to be invited to address your committee about what we know and do not know about the effects of marriage and divorce on families and children and about what policies and programs might work to promote and strengthen healthy marriages, especially among the poor.My goal is to briefly summarize the evidence in three areas: (1) what we know about the effects of marriage, divorce, and single parenthood on children; (2) what we know about the effectiveness of policies and programs that seek to stem persistently high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing; and (3) what we know about the likely effects of these policies on low-income families and children.Renewed interest among sociologists and demographers (Furstenberg and Cherlin, 1994) in the link between poverty and single parenthood soon emerged, and as noted above, that work increasingly began building toward the conclusion that family structure did matter (Mc Lanahan and Sandefur, 1994).Of course, the debate was not just about family structure and income differences; it was also about race and gender.While our collective hand-wringing about the number of American births that occur out-of-wedlock is justified, what is often missed is that the birthrate among unmarried women accounts for only part of the story.In fact, birthrates among unmarried teens and African-Americans have been falling — by a fourth among unmarried African-American women since 1960, for example (Offner, 2001).Indeed, families acted to maintain their standard of living in the face of stagnant and falling wages, earnings, and incomes during the 1970s and 1980s by having fewer children and sending both parents into the workforce, a strategy that undoubtedly has increased the stress on low-income two-parent families (Levy, 1988), and that contributed to the rise in out-of-wedlock births as a proportion of all births.Concern about these trends in out-of-wedlock births and divorce, coupled with the gnawing reality that child poverty is inextricably bound up with family structure, has encouraged conservatives and some liberals to focus on marriage as a solution.