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U.S. News Archive
October 11 - October 17, 1999





This page contains news for the period Monday, October 11, 1999 through Sunday, October 17, 1999.





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Saturday, October 16, 1999

Kids raised by single parents do just as well as other children

A story published today in New Scientist summarizes the findings of a new study which concludes that it is not the absence of a second parent in the home, but other factors such as a mother's lack of formal education and lack of coping skills which have ill effects of many children in single-parent families.

Some research has backed the popular impression that children raised by lone parents are more likely to do badly in school than those from traditional two-parent families. But Henry Ricciuti, a developmental psychologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has completed one of the largest and best-controlled studies into the issue which concludes that much of the previous work is misleading.

Ricciuti's study tested 1700 children between six and eight years old whose mothers were participating in a long-term, multiethnic study of young people. The study found that children raised by lone mothers did just as well on vocabulary, reading and mathematics as those from two-parent families. And the single mothers did not report any more behavioural problems in their children than mothers living with a partner (Journal of Family Psychology, vol 13, p 450). "I did not find any evidence for single parenthood being a risk in its own right," Ricciuti says.

Click here to read the complete story.


Thursday, October 14, 1999

Financial planning advice for unmarried couples

The "Personal Wealth" column in today's edition of USA Today contains a series of short articles on financial planning for unmarried couples who are living together in a long-term relationship. The articles include such issues as wills, cohabitation contracts, insurance, joint tenancy of real property, and retirement plans.

Click here for the complete story.


Monday, October 11, 1999

Family structures have changed dramatically, with more change to come

An article published today in the Binghamton Press outlined the various changes in family structures in the past few decades and concluded that more changes are in store. The article was based on data supplied by the Work and Family Institute in New York.

"The family has completely changed in the last hundred years, and there is no reason to believe it won't completely change again in the next," said Terry Bond, a statistician and researcher on family issues with the Family and Work Institute in New York City.

"The Leave it to Beaver conception of the family, popularized during the 1950s, is all but extinct," Bond said. It has been replaced by families with all sorts of configurations - two working parents and a live-in nanny; a growing number of single working moms and dads, raising children alone and utilizing day care; a new breed of stay-at-home dads, out-earned by their wives. There are also a growing number of interracial families and a small number of alternative families with same-sex partners.

Today in the USA, mom and dad both work. More than three out of four married workers have an employed spouse. Forty-six percent of all wage and salary workers are parents with children under 18 living with them at least half the time. One in five employed parents is single and raising children alone.

Bond believes we'll see more of all of the above in years to come.

Click here for the full story.


Big Brothers/Big Sisters helps kids in single-parent families

An article published today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses the positive effects that the Bib Brother and Big Sister programs have had on the lives of children living in single-parent homes.

The story tells how two particular children, Erin and Brandon, are taking part in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washington County, Wisconsin.

Click here to read the complete story.


Michigan hospitals get unmarried dads to acknowledge paternity

An article published today in the Bay City Times reported that even though Michigan hospitals are doing a better job helping unwed mothers establish paternity, about 18,000 newborns in 1998 still went home without papers identifying their fathers.

Paternity was established in about two-thirds of the out-of-wedlock births in 1998, state records show. In 1994, paternity was established in about 56 percent of all unwed births.

Hospital officials explain that establishing paternity is important for legal, insurance and heredity reasons. It's a big job in Michigan, where more than 48,000 children were born to unmarried mothers in 1998 - representing more than 34 percent of all births that year.

The request takes place at several times and places. Instructors explain the process and importance of establishing paternity during childbirth education courses. The papers are later provided at the hospital immediately after birth.

Since 1994, Michigan has required its 114 birthing hospitals to help unwed mothers establish paternity at the time of birth. While hospitals are not penalized for failure to comply, the state has a financial interest in making sure they do.

Paternity establishment is one of four measures the federal government considers when it rewards states that do a good job collecting child support, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program began Oct. 1 and the first awards will be distributed late next year or early in 2001.

Fifty-one of Michigan's birthing hospitals established paternity at above-average rates for three consecutive years. Sixteen other hospitals established paternity at above-average rates for one or two years. However, 45 hospitals had below-average rates in 1998, including hospitals in Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Parents also can establish paternity after leaving the hospital by contacting local Family Independence Agency offices. There is a fee to change or add the father's name to the birth certificate.


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