I. The Decline of the American Family
II. The Cost of Fatherlessness
III. The Increase in Single-Parent Families
More Births Out of Wedlock
High Divorce Rate
IV. Guiding Principles for Strengthening Traditional Families
V. The Need to Strengthen Traditional Families
“We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”
– President Barrack Obama , The White House Blog, “President
Obama Promotes Responsible Fatherhood: ‘No Excuses,’”
Whitehouse.gov. N.p., 21 June 2010.
“On just about any measure of development you can think of, children who are born to unmarried women fare worse than the children of divorce and far worse than children raised in intact families. This unwelcome reality persists even after controlling for the income and education of the parents.”
– Charles Murray, “The New American Divide.” The Wall Street
Journal. N.p., 21 Jan. 2012.
“The word family has all but lost its original meaning in our modern landscape. You don’t have to look far to see the fallout. Divorce is the norm. An increasing number of children are growing up in homes where at least one parent is absent. Broken families are the root cause of so many of our social problems, from abuse and addiction to poverty and crime… Somehow, we’ve lost our way.”
– Jim Daly, Foreword, Why Family Matters – A Modern Look at an
Ancient Truth, Focus on the Family, 2013, p. 7.
“American fatherlessness is a national disaster and, according to the latest research into its effects, more of a disaster than anybody could have imagined.”
– Stephen Marche, “Manifesto of the New Fatherhood.”
Esquire.com Article. N.p., 13 June 2014. Web.
Sometimes the best solution to a problem is the simplest and most obvious. Amidst the clamor over many of the pressing social issues of our day – rising income inequality, disparity of educational opportunity, youth violence, and access to health care – one simple, obvious causal factor is often overlooked: the state of the American family.
The family has been described by William Bennett as “the first form of community and government” and, by Michael Novak, as “the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.”1 In Massachusetts, we may pride ourselves on our world class educational and medical institutions and take comfort in our Commonwealth’s generous social services programs and welfare assistance, but none of these efforts, no matter how well intended, can replace the fundamental advantage and security for children of going to sleep at night under the same roof as their mother and father. As a Commonwealth, we need to remind ourselves that all the programs and services to help children are merely a support, and never a replacement, for the family.
In fact, current social science and census data paint a compelling case of the need for strong, intact, two-parent families here and now in the 21st century. If we truly care about our children, and particularly the most vulnerable among them, we must do everything in our power to ensure they are raised by a mother and a father.
As former President Barrack Obama said so well on Father’s Day, 2010: “We can all agree that we’ve got too many mothers out there forced to do everything all by themselves. They’re doing a heroic job, often under trying circumstances. They deserve a lot of credit for that. But they shouldn’t have to do it alone. The work of raising our children is the most important job in this country, and it’s all of our responsibilities – mothers and fathers.”2
We wholeheartedly agree, and believe our Commonwealth’s laws and policies should reflect that same principle.