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Task force told out-of-wedlock births to blame for child poverty

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Gov. Sam Brownback's newly formed task force on child poverty was told Monday that the increase in "non-marital births" was a leading cause of child poverty.

Ron Haskins, a senior fellow with The Brookings Institution, said that from a child's perspective, "They need a mom, they need a dad, they need consistency … if that occurs it has major impacts on development."

Haskins' comments were made during the first meeting of the Governor's Task Force on Reducing Childhood Poverty. Brownback appointed the group earlier this month.

In Kansas, 18.1 percent of children live in poverty, which represents a 53 percent increase from 1970. A family of four earning less than $23,050 is consider to be living under the poverty level.

Haskins said "Non-marital births are really a major part of the problem of poverty in the United States."

He said births to unmarried women nationwide have increased from around 30 percent in 1993 to 40 percent now. The poverty rate for children in female-headed households is 41 percent, while it is about 9 percent for married couples, he said.

"We are doing more of the thing that virtually guarantees poverty," he said. "Unless we attack it, we are not going to get at the heart of the problem."

He said if people will graduate from high school, work full time and wait until they are married to have children, they increase their chances dramatically of avoiding poverty. "Education, family composition and work are always going to be key," he said.

"It is a very challenging issue," said Kansas Department of Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, who is serving as co-chair of the task force.

Earlier, Page Walley, a director with Casey Family Programs, urged task force members to work on reducing the number of children removed from their parents and put in foster homes.

"Foster care was never intended to be a permanent solution," he said.

Comments

pusscanthropus 1 year, 4 months ago

So who marries whom? As I posted in the other thread, having numerous children with several baby-mamas means Brownback will have to legalize polygamy. It is a status symbol "on the streets" to have multiple baby-mamas.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 4 months ago

Oh and by the way, I can count five...FIVE...couples that I currently know, just in the Lawrence area, that are not married and raising their children in a two parent family. This slanted study isn't worth the paper the state printed it on and I'm sure the Heritage Foundation is eating it up.

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bd 1 year, 4 months ago

chastity belts until they are 18 and prison for deadbeat dads!!!!

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 4 months ago

Oh fer crissakes. You have corporations suing to ban contraception from the ACA, states like Oklahoma, Texas and KANSAS trying to defund Planned Parenthood and then there's THIS little gem about what happens to women denied abortions:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/11/14/the_turnaway_study_what_happens_to_women_who_are_denied_abortions.html
and you want to blame child poverty on "out of wedlock" (what an archaic phrase!) births?
Jesus, Sam, just start firing up the factories to make scarlet "A"s!

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 4 months ago

I expect common sense would tell us that a single women with no high school diploma and seven kids from seven different men would most likely be living in poverty. How is an uneducated single women with kids suppose to work and take care of her kids at the same time? It's not rocket science people. Why are you blaming the govt and corps for bad choices made by individuals? Why are individuals no longer to blame for their circumstances? The living wage nonsense has nothing to do with men and women choosing to have sex without birth control which is 99% effective. This issue is about individual choices and nothing more.

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grammaddy 1 year, 4 months ago

Another attackon women.If deadbeat Dads paid their support, it wouldn't be 41%.

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akt2 1 year, 4 months ago

One of the kindest things you can do for your teenage daughter is to take her to the doctor to obtain birth control. She won't be a statistic for such ridiculous task forces, that are no doubt led by men who don't have a clue about prevention of teen pregnancy or the consequences of unplanned pregnancies.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

Sure. Blame it on anything, but businesses who don't want to pay a living wage and corporations who took good manufacturing jobs out of the country, so they could pretend it improved their profits.

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Larry Sturm 1 year, 4 months ago

doing away with planned parenthood didn't help that situation. equil pay for equil work for women would help. making deadbeat dad's pay child support would also help.

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verity 1 year, 4 months ago

So? ? ?

Is this new task force formed by the governor going to actually do something or just collect information to lay blame?

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justfornow 1 year, 4 months ago

Believe in yourself and it will be alright! Taker!

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justfornow 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't have kids if you can't afford them!!! Pretty simple!

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autie 1 year, 4 months ago

Did they have to pay somebody to tell them that? Daddy Baby deadbeat + Gullible woman = children in poverty. That math is fairly simple. Next they'll be telling us the road to prosperity is right around the corner with the next wave of tax cuts. Believe. Believe in Sam and it will be alright.

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jonas_opines 1 year, 4 months ago

I recall the Brownback administration, back when first elected, saying that one of their major fixes for the economy was to promote marriage, for this very reason. They ran on the terrible economy, and that wound up being their solution. Their only solution, as far as I can tell.

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notaubermime 1 year, 4 months ago

What?! A single income household is more likely to be below the poverty line than one with two possible incomes? Get real. Next thing they are going to try to tell us is that the snozberries taste like snozberries!

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deec 1 year, 4 months ago

One way to increase the income of single parents would be to pay women the same wages as men for the same or comparable jobs. Another way to decrease poverty is by increasing the minimum wage and encouraging unions in the low-wage industries dominated by women employees.

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KansasPerson 1 year, 4 months ago

I find the wording here to be confusing. The article talks about the risks for children of "non-marital births" but then the data they use to support this talks about the poverty rate in "female-headed households." As another commenter pointed out, these are not necessarily the same thing. While it may seem obvious that a single-income household is going to have less money than a two-income household, I think the wording blurs the issue by putting divorced mothers and never-married mothers in the same category. (I don't know why we aren't talking about single-parent homes where the parent is the father, but that's another story.) And while I wish EVERYONE had a happy stable relationship and EVERY child could grow up without experiencing poverty, it's just not always going to work out that way -- and I'm very leery of statistics possibly being used to coerce people into staying in (or getting into) bad marriages.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 4 months ago

Someone please end this nightmare.

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 4 months ago

The solution, of course, is abstinence-only sex education.

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Pepe 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm not sure that there is anything very controversial in what was said. There is a causation and correlation between out of wedlock births and poverty. Certainly, there are other factors that can cause or contribute to childhood poverty, but I don't think anyone can argue that children born out-of-wedlock are generally going to have a much tougher time financially than those born to two parent households (whether the two parents are of different sex or same sex). In other words, two parents are generally better than one when it comes to the finances of raising a child.

It seems like the headline is a bit misleading -- it implies that the task force said that out of wedlock births are the only cause of childhood poverty and I don't think that is what the article really says.

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tange 1 year, 4 months ago

Child poverty is reflective of a broader poverty in our culture—as reflected in value-self-validating "task forces."

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chootspa 1 year, 4 months ago

Well, gee, if you didn't throw fits about having access to birth control or force women to give birth when they face unintended pregnancies, you might be able to reduce the number of single mothers.

If your aim is to increase the number of women who attend college (which actually does statistically lower the likelihood of both giving birth out of wedlock and of living in poverty) you'll need to lower the cost to attend college. Tuition costs have been skyrocketing, even as state support for higher education has decreased. "Run more like a business" ring any bells?

If your concern is just that these women are living in poverty because of expenses associated with having a child, you can start funding preschool and daycare for women to attend school or go back to work, or you can do more to enforce child support judgements and prevent dead beat dads.

Arguably, I'd say all of those things are good policy, and I'd also say none of them are likely to see light of day under the current conservative administration.

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deec 1 year, 4 months ago

Or, gosh, maybe more people are living in poverty because corporations made most of the good-paying jobs disappear. if they could figure out a way to make the rest go away, they would.

From last year:

"The median paycheck — half made more, half less — fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999."

http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-johnston/2011/10/19/first-look-at-us-pay-data-its-awful/

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akt2 1 year, 4 months ago

Where does the child with divorced parents, one being a deadbeat, figure in to the statistic for children living in poverty? Since these kids are often in homes with multiple siblings, I think this would also be a major factor. More so than non-marital births.

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Steve Bunch 1 year, 4 months ago

Here's what's coming: Unmarried mothers will be denied aid for dependent children unless they agree to sterilization. Brownback might even let Obamacare pay for it.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 4 months ago

A Heritage Foundation analysis finds that children raised by single parents are more likely to be physically abused, smoke, drink, abuse drugs, behave violently, engage in criminal activity, perform poorly in school or drop out, be treated for emotional and behavioral disorders and to experience poverty as adults. With regard to girls, those raised by single mothers are more than twice as likely to give birth out-of-wedlock, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/06/married-fathers-americas-greatest-weapon-against-child-poverty

http://www.rightsidenews.com/2012071216621/us/politics-and-economics/romneys-stand-and-the-lefts-destruction-of-the-black-community.html

The left in this country has destroyed the traditional family by handing out free stuff. Shame on Democrats!

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Sam Brownback economics is why children are living in poverty. Right wing politicians and some in corporate America do not believe in sustainable wages.

Nothing but corruption coming from the Brownback administration and a whole of misinformation.

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lawrencechick 1 year, 4 months ago

Surely, Dan Quayle wasn't right...

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 4 months ago

But god forbid a child have 2 "dads" or 2 "moms".

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