published Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

High rate of out-of-wedlock births puts children at a disadvantage

It is impossible to put a price tag on all the benefits that come from stable, intact families.

One of the most tangible benefits of a family headed by married parents is that it is among the best ways to keep children out of poverty.

Of course, there are some two-parent families who are poor, but families headed by a single parent are far more likely to live in poverty.

In Tennessee, for instance, Census Bureau data from 2006-2008 showed that in a family with married parents, a child had only a 7.5 percent chance of living in poverty. By comparison, a child had a 43.1 percent chance of being in poverty if he or she was in a single-parent, female-headed family.

In Georgia, a child in a single-parent, female-headed family had a greater than 37 percent chance of being in poverty, compared with only a 6.1 percent chance for a child in a family headed by married parents.

Those numbers prompted The Heritage Foundation to label marriage "America's No. 1 weapon against childhood poverty."

And so with the benefits of stable families being so obvious, it is deeply discouraging to see our country pass an alarming threshold: Today, a majority of the women under 30 who have children are doing so without benefit of wedlock.

"The shift is affecting children's lives," The New York Times reported. "Researchers have consistently found that American children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering from emotional and behavioral problems."

While men and women are clearly responsible when they act in ways that bring children into difficult circumstances, it surely does not help that movies and TV shows often depict single motherhood as a sensible option. It's not "sensible" for the child. It is a burden he will live with all his life, and all too often that burden will have painful consequences.

Unmarried adults are well advised to think not only about what they want but about what is best for the children whom their irresponsible actions may create.

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shoe_chucker said...

sounds almost like TFP editors are coming out in favor of contraception and/or family planning.

February 22, 2012 at 6:04 a.m.
conservative said...

I'm surprised the Lieberals have not gone ballistic over this article. They are probably sleeping one off, still too early for them.

Too many children grow up with no moral instruction at least not any based on scripture. They have sex at an early age and out of wedlock and then take whatever government handout they can to get buy. It then becomes just a lifelong endeavor to just get buy with compassionate Lieberals (now there is a oxymoron ), always eager to provide one more crumb of existence in exchange for their Socialist vote. Woe, woe, woe, to Lieberals!

February 22, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

One of the most tangible benefits of a family headed by married parents is that it is among the best ways to keep children out of poverty.Of course, there are some two-parent families who are poor, but families headed by a single parent are far more likely to live in poverty.

When America decides to grow a brain and stop overwhelmingly jailing its male population at such an alarming rate, perhaps that can be a start in finding a solution to single parent households and doing away with primarily children growing up without fathers. dah! Why complicate something so simple, then pretend you really want solutions.

February 22, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
conservative said...

TN inmate #37301666 wrote:

When America decides to grow a brain and stop overwhelmingly jailing its male population at such an alarming rate, perhaps that can be a start in finding a solution to single parent households and doing away with primarily children growing up without fathers. dah! Why complicate something so simple, then pretend you really want solutions.

February 22, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.
holdout said...

Heaven forbid we lock up someone for burglarizing a house or robbing a gas station when they have children at home.

February 22, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Con, you have got to be the biggest jerk in this city. Tell me, what does your belly button look like from the inside?

February 22, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Those numbers prompted The Heritage Foundation to label marriage "America's No. 1 weapon against childhood poverty."

Oh, well now we see who this is really from! The Heritage Foundation is the group steering the tea party and Republicans and causing all the grief with birth control. No wonder they are doing this. This is pure propaganda.

How many dead beat dads are in jail? How many dead beat dads owe back child support?

I think it is hilarious that this writer thinks these problems just arose out of un-married couples. As long as this state doesn't do anything about back child support, you will continue to have these children live in poverty. When employers care nothing about paying a living wage, you will continue to see these children live in poverty. As long as we continue to let the bankers charge child support recipients monthly and annual fees just to get their child support, these children will continue to live in poverty. This list is long and I could go on and on.

This writer has no ^%$$#@#!@ idea what he/she is talking about, and probably has no idea they were used as a pawn. Sheesh, do some research next time!

February 22, 2012 at 4:33 p.m.
conservative said...

Woman --

Judging from your comment, I would say you read that many times before you got it.

February 22, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

You judge?! LOL You will never be allowed to judge me. I guess you thought of that because it took you that long. LOL

You don't treat people with respect. Your coments show you to be mean and rude.

Judge me? Move on, blow smoke up someone else's dress.

February 22, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.
conservative said...

Woman --

It most have been more times than I thought. You are hysterical with hate. Please, calm down.

February 22, 2012 at 5:59 p.m.
rolando said...

That's it, Woman, throw out the editorial writer's message that statistics show single-parent, female headed families are six times more likely to live in poverty when compared to wedded parents.

Go ahead, shoot the messenger and ignore the message he carries.

February 22, 2012 at 6:31 p.m.
rolando said...

I find it interesting that the NYTimes editors, that bastion of support for homo-trans-lez-etc rights, are now astounded and shocked, yes...shocked, at the crop of weeds their policies have sown.

Sleep in it. LBJ's plan to destroy and subjugate the black nuclear family and reduce it to total subservience to and dependence upon the government has worked well.

The mulatto in the WH is continuing that genocidal work...and his victims are applauding his actions. Pathetic.

Not even the slaves of the 1800s, in their horrific condition, willingly applauded their massa.

February 22, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.
ceeweed said...

"Holy macaroni, Batman!", "Just don't say gay, Robin."

February 22, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...

holdout said... Heaven forbid we lock up someone for burglarizing a house or robbing a gas station when they have children at home.

Or heavens forbid when a young man is arrested for having too many one dollar bills in his wallet because of what that could indicate. If every American citizen were arrested on a maybe or a what could be there would be no free citizens left in America. No seriously! A young man was actually arrested once for that exact reason. No wonder so many cases are dismissed or thrown out of court by judges. Intellectual qualities are not requirements for becoming a police officer.

February 22, 2012 at 7:57 p.m.

rolando, you might be surprised at the examples of "massa" being applauded, even cheered. This is not new in the American experience either, you can find examples from Norman, Roman, even Egyptian times. Or modern.

It's not at all uncommon.

February 22, 2012 at 8:08 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...

JustOneWoman said... How many dead beat dads are in jail? How many dead beat dads owe back child support? I think it is hilarious that this writer thinks these problems just arose out of un-married couples. As long as this state doesn't do anything about back child support, you will continue to have these children live in poverty

One of the dummest laws ever dreamt up was to lock up an individual for non-payment of childsupport. Then take away their driving privileges. Could it be that a lot of those men, and some women too, found themselves in situations where they couldn't pay childsupport? Then when they were locked up, that only served to worsen the situation, for both them and the children they may have fathered or mothered? If you're locked up you can't work. If you lose your driving privileges you don't have transportation to work or the ability to look for work. Having myself been a divorced custodial parent, I refused to put my ex-spouse up for child support. Punishing individuals for non-payment of childsupport was meant to scare people away from applying for such public benefits as welfare. It was never meant to force parents who couldn't pay to pay up. The thought was the custodial parent wouldn't dare apply for public assistance if the other parent was still in his or her childrens' lives, for fear that non-custodial parent could be sent to prison. Locking the non-custodial parent up was never for the benefit of the child or the custodial parent. Otherwise, the courts would have been prepared to offer jobs to those who didn't have them in lieu of sentencing them to 11/29 in the workhouse.

February 22, 2012 at 8:08 p.m.

It's called a Debtor's Prison. It works. Really! Just ask Dickens!

But no, to be fair, most of those incarcerated under such circumstances receive that sentence due to their willful attempts to evade the responsibility, not because of a lack of work of itself.

Might be we need a bit more safeguards though, there's a lot of states where the due process is sketchy.

February 22, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...

And what about the ones who don't, happy? The ones who are out of work? Or forced into low wage paying jobs for one reason or another? Each case should be evaluated separately, rather than a one size fits all. Yes, there are those who attempt to evade their responsibility, but a vast majority do not.

It does nothing to help and, at some future date, may even affect that now dependent child when he or she becomes an adult and apply for certain jobs. Most people don't realize that a parents' prison record can affect the offspring when they become adults where security clearances are required for certain type jobs. It's one of those situations where the sins of the father (mother) will be revisited upon the child in the future. There are many ways the non-custodial parent can be a part of a child's life and make a positive impact on that child, even if they are unable to financially support the child. Those things should be taken into consideration too.

Many of these young men, especially, have been forced from their childrens' lives through routine incarcration over non-violent charges. While they're locked up the woman, or custodial parent, often moves on into another relationship. Sometimes in an effort to help make ends meet, with that now once supportive parent absent. Other times, it's a case of out of sight, out of mind. When that non-custodial parent is released he,most often male, is not only jobless, but homeless as well. Even if they had some low wage paying job that employer isn't going to hold that position for six months until the individual is released. There's a difference between being unemployed and having been made unemployable. Where not even many temporary services will hire someone with a prison record. That's a fact. So many of these young men end up becoming hustlers. Hustling doesn't necessarily mean they're out there doing something illegal, but that their income from day to day vary. Sometimes nothing at all is coming in. And yes, some go on to do illegal stuff just to survive. After all, The first law of nature is self-preservation. Meaning the ultimate desire is to survive and at least provide oneself with the most basic needs: Food. And everything usually goes downhill from there. From that first arrest for a non-violent or even non-existing crime.

February 22, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.

See, while I can understand this would be a problem if it were happening to the great extent you seem to fear, I do not find from my experience that it is happening. There's even a deadbeat dad serving in Congress! (Joe Walsh, look him up!)

I am not aware of any state where the judges or other persons impose such a dogmatic solution, or where they can't consider the circumstances. I can believe there are judges out there who don't, but that is an individual problem, not a systemic one.

I have a lot of problems with the incarcerations found in this country, I assure you of that, but this one is not a primary concern to me. It's a wrong way to do things, but how much is it being done? Not much from my experience. But if there is some state out there, that doesn't have their judges consider the circumstances, and has blanket sentencing, then fair enough, that state should change its laws. If there's individual judges out there doing it, then they should be dealt with as well, but there's enough judges out there that I hang my head and sigh at their decisions that one more reason to do it...just doesn't register.

February 22, 2012 at 9:35 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...

happywithnewbulbs said... See, while I can understand this would be a problem if it were happening to the great extent you seem to fear, I do not find from my experience that it is happening. There's even a deadbeat dad serving in Congress! (Joe Walsh, look him up

That's because your little guy, living in poverty, rarely if ever makes the news. We may get to see his or her mugshot, but not theie circumstances.

For every one deadbeat you've described, there's perhaps hundreds more who are poor and simply jobless or no longer employable due to one or more minor arrests on their record.

OH! Another thing is many of the young men, especially, caught up in the child support issue were actually active in their childrens' lives, but in order to receive much needed help, the women had to say the men weren't. Whenever a custodial parent applies for public assistance, such as welfare, that immediately places the non-custodial parent up for non-support. When and if they're arrested, to keep the custodial parent from getting into the trouble and possibly losing their benefits, they'll just go with the charge and serve the time. I came across this information several years ago while working with poor families.

February 22, 2012 at 9:47 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...

g'night. the conversation has been interesting.

February 22, 2012 at 9:57 p.m.

See, this is why I hate it when people quote part of what I said, you're replying to only a bit of it, but not addressing the important bits.

I've already said that the law should provide for exceptions and so forth, so even if were an extensive problem (which I just don't see, and not because of watching the news, mind you), that'd be something I'd support fixing. We're not in disagreement on the principle, just the particulars. But not in any meaningful way, since I'd hardly oppose any given change you might suggest.

The minor arrests for petty charges (like drug possession) I already consider a problem, along with a host of other things that contribute to the growing prison population, but I thought we were discussing one particular issue, the imprisonment of parents with unpaid child support whose conduct is a result of unfortunate circumstances, not willful defiance. It's just not something I really consider that prevalent.

Oh well, at least you're not claiming that we need to have a law providing for it, as some posters did on this site about a month ago. Apparently they didn't know that law was passed almost 15 years ago. Now that made me blink.

I agree with you on that last issue, though I'd point out that the reason for it is due to a concern of "spending money properly" which is a widespread issue of certain forms of bureaucracy. Spend so much effort in getting things right they make things worse than if they didn't try so hard.

February 22, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.
holdout said...

You're right welcome 2. From now on lets just stop arresting anyone just in case they might have a family somewhere. Makes a lot of sense. As for the story of the person arrested for too many singles. Won't say you are mistaken. That is just a flat out lie either told by you making you the liar or told to you making you an incredibly gullible dupe. I do think the child support system is more messed up than a soup sandwich. Anyone would if they spent just one day in family court and saw the cases that are there. Some are deadbeats who change jobs every six months to avoid payments. Some are there who lost a job or took a cut in hours and want to do the right thing. Some are people who work cash jobs and refuse to pay anything. I have seen some who regularly overpaid for years and then hit a hard time and couldn't catch a short break even with the custodial parent there trying to help them. My initial comment was OBVIOUSLY not about the child support system but the willful ignorance of those who would pick a single solution to a problem that is the result of many causes. Especially a solution that is clearly based on their bigoted view of society.

February 23, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
Welcome_2 said...

holdout said... You're right welcome 2. From now on lets just stop arresting anyone just in case they might have a family somewhere. Makes a lot of sense. As for the story of the person arrested for too many singles. Won't say you are mistaken. That is just a flat out lie

Uh, actually no, holdout. It's not a lie. It was all caught on local media camera when a reporter went on one of those ride-alongs that was suppose to show the daily routines in a cops life. The cop, maybe was a rookie, actually admitted on camera the reason for the arrest was the young fellow had too many one dollar bills on him, which he'd been trained to scrutinize as possible drug money. Just think if we all got arrested on a possibility or a what might be when getting pulled over. :?

I've already said that the law should provide for exceptions and so forth, so even if were an extensive problem (which I just don't see

But the reality is, happy, that's not the way the law works. That's not the way the law is going to work. Once the damage is done it is done. There's no backtracking. Also ass I previously stated, the parents' prison and jail record can and will often affect the future prospects of their children in the employment area.

February 23, 2012 at 10:13 a.m.

Again, you're quoting part of a post, but missing the meaning of what I said. Even worse, since you only quoted part of a sentence, see how you left out the end of that one?

Please finish it

"that'd be something I'd support fixing. We're not in disagreement on the principle, just the particulars. But not in any meaningful way, since I'd hardly oppose any given change you might suggest."

Again, You say that's not how the law works, I say...ok, well, I don't believe that you are correct in your assessment, but if you are, then ok, make changes in the law.

I just think that the law is less of a problem than the individual judges.

February 23, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
Welcome_2 said...

happy, I only used a part of your quote for space purposes. You may agree that a part of the system needs fixin'. Reality is, that part will never be fixed. And if it gave the appearance of being fixed, it would be for appearance sake only. The courts would should replace it with somethin help. The private prison industry and their stockholders rely heavily on more and more laws that lead to incarceration. Unfortunately, that's how the judicial system has emerged. Into a money making business. It's not about correcting irresponsible or bad behavior. Some of the very people sending individuals away for longer and longer prison terms likely have stock options in the private prison business.

Example: The Pennsylvania judge who was getting kickbacks by sending juveniles to a private juvenile detention facility. Often for minor offenses. He made millions in that scheme.

February 23, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.

When you use a part, but miss the part with the meaning, the savings of space is of questionable value. But I also do not like the distortion effect. I don't even see it as necessary on this forum, as it lacks pagination. Still, if you want to direct your reply to a particular sentence, quote the whole thing, or maybe the first words, not a complete phrase. It distorts the meaning when you break apart such a clause.

But I do agree with your cynicism regarding the lack of any effective fix, I was actually thinking of mentioning such kickbacks and graft myself.

February 23, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

WE SHOULD NOT BE WORRYING ABOUT A BABY IN POVERTY,,,,WHAT WE SHOULD BE PUTTING OUR CONCERNS ON IS CHILDREN HAVING CHILDREN....SOMEWHERE IN THIS ISSUE THIS HAS TO STOP WEATHER BY EDUCATION OR SOME OTHER MEANS...WE CAN'T STAND ON THE STREET CORNER PASSING OUT BIRTH CONTROL PILLS,,,,THAT WOULD BE GIVING THEM A GO AHEAD SIGNAL.YOU ARE SAFE,,,CHILDREN HAVING CHILDREN IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN GIVE UP TOMORROW OR THE NEXT DAY,,,,IT IS A LIFE LONG THING,,UNTIL DEATH AND THAT NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD ABOVE ALL ELSE,,,IT IS NOT LIKE PLAYING HOUSE..MY WIFE AND I HAD 6 CHILDREN BUT WE HAD TO PAY FOR THAT,,,,COLLEGE AND THE WHOLE 90 YARDS,,,,,IT WASN'T EASY BUT WE DID IT AND WE WERE TOGETHER,,NOT A 1 ADULT HOME SO I CAN'T REALLY IMAGINE DOING IT WITH 1 ADULT OTHER THAN BRING SOME OF MY ISSUES BEING A 2 ADULT HOME,,,I'M SURE YOU ADULTS KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT .....IT WAS VERY HARD..THE NIKI'S,,,,REABOCKS,,,,CARS,, DATES ETC; AND TO THINK I COULD HAVE BEEN RICH,,,,,LOL

February 29, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
holdout said...

Welcome 2 you need to educate yourself somewhere other than the media. Those ride along shows spend hundreds of hours filming and then show less than ten minutes. Could a lot of ones mean a drug dealer? There is no way to say based solely on that. Law Enforcement is a subjective art. Consider a guy with a large amount of small bills in his pocket. Is he coming from a job waiting tables or tending bar? Then it's probably tip money. Does he have a large number of baggies in his pocket and a small set of scales? That would put a different slant on the money. Also remember that when someone is arrested they have to be taken before a judge. In Hamilton County there is a Magistrate at the jail. The Officer has to present an arrest report and warrant to the Magistrate. It has to have an offense listed. It has to explain what happened in a way that gives all the elements of the offense or the suspect is not taken into the Jail. No one has ever nor will ever be arrested for dealing with the only element being, "he had a lot of cash". Get some books and learn about how an arrest is made from the time an Officer sees someone through reasonable suspicion and into probable cause. It's a dynamic process and each time is different. What you see on TV is such a very tiny part of what is actually done and how it is presented affects what you see.

March 1, 2012 at 8:25 a.m.
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