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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Task force report focuses on increasing marriage, reducing out-of-wedlock births

September 6, 2013

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— An emphasis on marriage and a decrease in out-of-wedlock births are two main recommendations from Gov. Sam Brownback's task force on reducing childhood poverty.

The task force report released Friday said a way to encourage healthy marriages would be to increase premarital education. An incentive to do that would be to reduce the marriage license fee for those who complete eight hours of premarital education. The course must contain a component on domestic violence, the report said.

An application for a marriage license in Douglas County costs $85.50.

"There is no single answer to end childhood poverty in Kansas," said Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, who served as chair of the task force. "Based on the evidence presented during our meetings, we believe these recommendations are an important start."

The report was criticized by Kansas Action for Children, which advocates for children and families.

"We also need to focus on creating innovative pathways out of poverty for our poorest children. These things seem to be missing from today's report," said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and chief executive officer for Kansas Action for Children.

In Kansas, the poverty rate for children has been increasing with nearly one in five children living in poverty. A family of four earning less than $23,050 is considered to be under the poverty level.

The governor's task force report said education, employment and marriage were the three key paths out of poverty and it downplayed the role of government-funded programs.

" … Government's ability to address poverty has historically been unsuccessful," the report said.

"Though government at the state and federal level continues to pour money into anti-poverty programs, poverty rates continue to grow, and out-of-wedlock childbirth has exploded.

"Government must be mindful of programs and policies that result in keeping individuals in poverty by dis-incentivizing full-time employment and marriage or incentivizing out-of-wedlock childbirths," the report added.

The report said increasing healthy marriages was important because In Kansas marriage decreases the likelihood of poverty by more than 80 percent.

The report also called for a public relations campaign to highlight the importance of marriage and fatherhood, and an increase in "healthy relationship education" in middle schools and high schools to help young people make better life choices and reduce out-of-wedlock births.

The report also recommended improving high school, college and technical school graduation rates through programs such as Jobs for America's Graduates and expanding statewide a mentoring program called Partners in Change that operates at Neosho County Community College.

The report also called for streamlining state work programs and touted work requirements for food stamps and welfare. Earlier this week, the Brownback administration announced that a federal waiver that allowed 20,000 unemployed Kansans to receive assistance in buying food will be allowed to expire at the end of the month.

Cotsoradis, with KAC, said the emphasis of the report on marriage and out-of-wedlock births seemed out of place.

She said children can thrive in stable home environments whether those are headed by two parents, a single parent or people who are unmarried.

"The issue is emotional and economic stability," she said.

Cotsoradis said the emphasis should be on helping to make sure that children who are born into poverty have the necessary supports so that they don't continue in poverty as an adult.

That means making sure they have access to nutrition, health care and education, she said.

She said the Legislature's recent action to cut in half the state's contribution to 529 college savings plans, which are meant to help the poor save for college, would seem to run counter to that goal.

Comments

William Weissbeck 7 months, 1 week ago

I guess the fact the unwed teen births are at the lowest level in decades and declining is lost on those claiming the correlation to current poverty levels. Rather than feed the poor, give them religion.

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Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

Leveraged Buyouts have been killing USA jobs for 33 years. Mitt Romney and friends have been very busy ruining the USA. Sam Brownback was in the beltway watching NOT preventing. Why do big USA banks finance the unemployment of America?

For example. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/why-private-equity-firms-like-bain-really-are-the-worst-of-capitalism-20120523

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june12/privateequity_01-18.html

http://www.joshkosman.com

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/18/greg_palast_mitt_romneys_bailout_bonanza

A four year degree is not quite enough. Having two or three sources of income is not a bad idea. Why? There are at least 6 reasons to keep in mind.

  1. Mergers
  2. Hostile Takeovers
  3. Leveraged Buyouts
  4. Free Trade Agreements
  5. Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan home loan scandal which killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs.
  6. Bush/Cheney Home Loan scandal killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs

All of above ultimately translate into millions upon millions upon millions of USA job losses. Big time layoffs are the end result. These jobs go abroad with tax codes that prevent taxation on profits made abroad from USA big name corporations.

There was a time when becoming employed by corporate America came with long term employment, fine wages and dependable retirement benefits. Those days are gone.

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Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

Sam Brownback put a large number of state employees out of work yet he claims to be concerned about poverty. This man is infected with ALEC.

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Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

"TOPEKA — An emphasis on marriage and a decrease in out-of-wedlock births are two main recommendations from Gov. Sam Brownback's task force"

This is not the business of government. This is a perfect example of VERY BIG GOVERNMENT INTERFERING WITH PRIVATE LIVES......... also not the business of government.

Sam Brownback is a master in deception. Marriage cannot guarantee no child lives in poverty. BUT republicans have introduced some programs over the years that create poverty to millions upon millions of families through forced unemployment. Allow me to clarify.

Republicans in general cost the USA too much money! And take out economies at the speed of light!!!

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html .

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many billions and millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm .

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html .

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year .

--- RECKLESS GOP Tax cuts = THE GOP ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. Bush Tax Cuts aka http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html .

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jayhawxrok 7 months, 1 week ago

Once again right wing buffoons are on the wrong track. Brownback is a zealot, unqualified for the office he holds. He was a disgrace in the House but KS voters checked the box because he had an R by his name. He and The Kochs and Kobach are killing this state.

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none2 7 months, 1 week ago

Sure we have way too much dependency on government. However, Brownback's minions refuse to admit that the lack of decent jobs plays a big role in poverty -- not one's marital status.

That being said, not everybody is cut out for marriage, just like not everybody is cut out to be priest or a nun. Would the Pope want just ANYBODY signing up for the religious life? I would think not. Passing out free marriage certificates isn't going to solve anything. If a person states that $85.50 is too much to pay for a marriage license, then their problem isn't that getting married is too expensive, but that they see no VALUE in marriage.

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Alceste 7 months, 1 week ago

Jimmy Buffet offered a very practical and realistic approach to making and keeping a family. Buffet seems to have done "ok" financially with this not so difficult "standard for living".

1

Liberty275 7 months, 1 week ago

Please, Mr Bureaucrat, please tell me I shouldn't beat my wife or get my girlfriend pregnant. I don't already know that.

More unwarranted government intrusion into citizen's personal lives. While my wife and I have been married 15 years, if I was forced to take a class on marriage and listen to the opinions of people that don't care if I exist except on tax day, we would just go common law. I don't need Jesus telling me how I should love my wife and I don't need the state doing it either.

Also, I don't want my taxes spent on telling other people how to live their personal lives. It isn't my business and it isn't something I can ethically help finance.

No More.

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bearded_gnome 7 months, 1 week ago

how about fewer children born into poverty?

anyone who thinks that big government is the solution is delusional.

when welfare got big in the 60's statistics do show that it had the unwanted effect of driving husbands/fthers out of families, most particularly hit were black families. now that's spreading to the rest of the culture. citing teen births down is yet another distracor shiney thing.

rates of out of wedlock birth are going up across our society.

and despite the silly claims of KAC (proabortion ... if a child survives the womb they then care for it) children are obviously better off in an two parent household, a mother and a father.

premarital education incentive in this proposal is a very good idea.

1

Larry Sturm 7 months, 1 week ago

They got rid of planned parenthood that helped a lot of people,they don't want any sex education in schools and when they raise marriage license there will just be more of people living together.

1

kansanjayhawk 7 months, 1 week ago

I really think you need to consider that there are many Democrat voters doing exactly the same thing you are railing against above! What we need is for all people to think as Americans and not use a partisan label! We need to think about and consider issues carefully and then come to our own conclusions not based on what any politician or political party says!

0

Paul R Getto 7 months, 1 week ago

Data? We don't need no stinking data....

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kansas_cynic 7 months, 1 week ago

I have a real problem with accepting the ignorance, maybe arrogance of this administration. Worse yet, is having to accept the fact that there are so many purely ignorant voters in Kansas, Understand far too many of them simply vote for anyone that simply belongs to GOP. They vote straight R ticket since all their ancestors dating back to era of Jim Lane did, therefore they do also. Doesn't require thinking, analyzing or anything else, just punch ballot for anyone with an R listed by their name. Work with several of these, their spouse says this is who vote for and they do. Totally pathetic people, but these are the one who elect someone like brownback and the other legislators.

7

tomatogrower 7 months, 1 week ago

Conservative policy - Please marry, so we only have to pay half a living wage. Both of you can work for these wages, so it will add up to 1 living wage, and we can keep more of the profits. After all we built this and really don't need you workers. We are just being generous. We are the "Job Creators", but we really don't need any of you.

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oldexbeat 7 months, 1 week ago

but I just heard on Catholic Radio that there isn't a problem with to many people in the world and that we should have as many as possible ... duh.

Cheap labor and paying church members -- go Brownback.

3

Orwell 7 months, 1 week ago

The theocrats in Topeka might want to look into a CDC report just out. It shows teen pregnancy nationwide has been in decline for the last five years, curiously coincident with the Obama administration. Even more curious is the fact that the teen pregnancy rate is highest in the red states, where "abstinence only" is the officially permitted approach to the issue.

18

tomatogrower 7 months, 1 week ago

Solve the single parent poverty problem? Free daycare and helping single moms and dads get an education. Bring in businesses that pay a living wage so you don't need 2 incomes.

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Carol Bowen 7 months, 1 week ago

Phyllis Gilmore and her task force members need to experience or at least visit real life.

3

deec 7 months, 1 week ago

It's a magical piece of paper, this marriage contract, which automatically confers wealth on its signers. Mine must have been broken, though, because when I was married, I was still poor.

7

question4u 7 months, 1 week ago

"The report said increasing healthy marriages was important because In Kansas marriage decreases the likelihood of poverty by more than 80 percent."

On the surface this appears to be obvious nonsense, but hold on.

Sixteen-year-old fast-food workers have incomes below the poverty level and almost none of them are married Few college students have incomes above the poverty level and almost none of them are married. Now check on people in their thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties. There are a lot more of them living above the poverty level and, what do you know, a high percentage of them are married. Now check on retired people in their seventies, eighties and nineties. Yep, a high percentage of them have incomes below the poverty level and a high percentage have lost their spouses.

Now all you have to do is ignore the difference between a correlation and causality and you can argue that not being married increases your chances of living in poverty by 80%.

You can use the same sound logic and rigorous statistical analysis to demonstrate other important conclusions. For example, not owning a car increases your chances of living in poverty by 80%. Not owning a condo in Bermuda increases your chances of living in poverty by a lot too.

This is useful stuff and just the kind of thing that makes Kansas great.

5

Bob_Keeshan 7 months, 1 week ago

"Though government at the state and federal level continues to pour money into anti-poverty programs, poverty rates continue to grow, "

This is true if you only go back 10 years.

It is false if you go back 40 years to the beginning of the programs being chided.

In other words, it is false.

7

Joe Hyde 7 months, 1 week ago

For middle and lower income Kansans who do marry before having children, the Koch administration -- I'm sorry, the Brownback administration -- is systematically making the odds of realizing financial security roughly that of a poker player drawing to an inside straight.

11

kansanjayhawk 7 months, 1 week ago

"Cortsoratis said the emphasis of the report on marriage, and out-of-wedlock births seemed out of place..." Really? This woman is the head of "Kansas Action for Children" and she cannot see that stable family life is the key to keeping children and families out of poverty? She and her organization seem to be missing the fundamental importance of family life in keeping our State strong economically and emotionally and spiritually. America needs to return to the Bible and learn to depend upon God and turn to Him for our strength. Depending on government alone is no answer at all.

2

George_Braziller 7 months, 1 week ago

If it supposedly does then why was there a State Constitutional amendment to ban and not recognized gay marriages? Can't have your cake and eat it too.

"The report said increasing healthy marriages was important because In Kansas marriage decreases the likelihood of poverty by more than 80 percent."

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Bruce Bertsch 7 months, 1 week ago

Want to slow down out of wedlock births? Try making birth control more available and actually teaching sex ed. Wait, I'm still in Kansas, nevermind.

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Steve Bunch 7 months, 1 week ago

This committee makes a number of assertions that are stated as facts. Does their report cite any data to support its conclusions? It's also interesting that the recommendations call for additional educational programs in the schools while the administration cuts school funding. This thing sounds like another faith-based initiative, as the tax cuts are.

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Hooligan_016 7 months, 2 weeks ago

How about family planning programs? Oh wait, forgot what state I'm in. Silly me.

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