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
“The principal social objective of American government at every level should be to see that children are born to intact families and that they remain so.”
– Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, interview on Meet the Press
(Sept. 19, 1993).
All sectors of society, including local communities, businesses and religious communities, have a critical role to play in building strong traditional mother-father families in Massachusetts. Nothing in this report is intended to imply that reforms designed to strengthen traditional families must come primarily or exclusively from the public sector. On the contrary, this report is intended in significant part to encourage community leaders, business leaders, opinion leaders, community activists, and religious leaders to pursue reforms that will help to reverse the destructive dynamic of the decline of the traditional family in Massachusetts.
At the same time, in light of the grave social threat posed by the decline in the percentage of traditional families, there is also an urgent need for a bi-partisan campaign to encourage and strengthen traditional families in Massachusetts. In the war on poverty and the fight against income inequality, there is one strategy that has consistently proven effective – intact families with a married mother and father. The most powerful educational program we can employ is not to give every student the latest smart tablet to take home, it’s working to ensure the home they return to at the end of the school day contains a married mother and father. Keeping criminals off the street is important to ensuring children’s safety, but equally so is bringing fathers back to their children’s home. When children have both a mother and a father working together to support their family, the state doesn’t have to cover those expenses, and we all benefit.
This is common sense, and the social science data backs it up. The harm caused by fatherlessness and family decline is undeniable and the need to address the root cause is clear. We must work together, across the political and ideological spectrum, to promote the timeless and irreplaceable institution of a married mother and father for the benefit of our children and our Commonwealth.