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U.S. News Archive
August 14 - August 20, 2001



This page contains news for the period August 14, 2001 through August 20, 2001.  

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Monday, August 20, 2001

Unmarried households soars nationwide

A story published today by the Detroit News reports that according to the 2000 census data, the number of unmarried-partner households has increased dramatically to 72 percent nationwide.

The largest gains came in the Bible Belt of the South and across the Great Plains. Even in seven states, including Michigan, where laws remain on the books against cohabitation, living together almost doubled during the '90s.

So widespread has cohabitation become that some rural counties in Wyoming and Minnesota now have the same ratio of unmarried-partner households as do more-urban counties in New York and California.

Some social scientists still continue to debate whether the increase in cohabitation further undermines the stability of the traditional American family. Some studies have shown that cohabitation serves as a valuable premarital compatibility test, while others have found that couples who live together before marrying are more likely to get divorced.

The trend seems firmly established. Some government policies have changed to accommodate live-in relationships and those changes, in turn, have institutionalized them in both law and language.

Pressured by courts and constituents, cities and states created registries of unmarried couples during the 1990s, giving them rights that were the same -- or similar to -- those granted to spouses regarding hospital visitations, access to children's school records and a variety of government benefits.

Prominent companies have also redefined their benefits policies to include partners, as did some insurers, credit unions, health clubs and airlines -- concessions fought for and won mostly by gay groups, but enjoyed as well by the much-larger population of heterosexual unmarried couples.

At a time when new census data show that more American couples than ever are living together outside marriage, in Michigan, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia such "lewd and lascivious" male-female cohabitation remains illegal.

A quick look at Social Security

A story released today by the Associated Press reports some of the arguments about how women and minorities fare in the current Social Security system and with personal investment accounts.

Advocates for having a personal investment accounts say that it offers:

--Bigger returns for women, who live longer. A single woman making $12,000 a year pays $1,488 annually in payroll taxes. She is promised $683 a month at retirement. Investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds earning a 6.2 percent return would yield $936 a month.

–Personal investment accounts can be passed on to family members.

–The structure system lets working spouse pay into both accounts with no marriage term limit.

–The structure system helps lower-wage workers to contribute more money to their accounts to level inequity with wealthier workers.

--Increase in savings, which would stimulate economy.

The current Social Security system they believe:

--Hurts divorced women, who must be married at least 10 years to get survivors and spousal benefits.

--Hurts minorities, who have on the average a shorter life span and don't collect benefits as long as white workers.

--Payroll tax of 12.4 percent hits lower-wage workers harder.

Critics for having a personal investment accounts argue that:

--Owners have a risk of outliving savings.

–There is a real risk of stock-market volatility.

--Disability, survivors benefits uncertain.

--Benefit wealthier workers who accumulate larger savings.

--Some proposals require owner to purchase annuity that would provide monthly benefit, which dies with owner and can't be passed to survivors.

--Administrative costs, fees would reduce returns.

The current system advocates say offers:

--Not only retirement but death and disability benefits, which helps women and minorities.

--Benefits guaranteed for life with cost-of-living adjustments.

–The progressive distribution benefits lower-wage workers. They get more in benefits for what they paid in taxes compared with wealthier workers.

--Spousal benefits to protect both spouses who take time off from work to raise children.

Spelling out how you want to spend your last days

A story published today by the Los Angeles Times reports that with advancement in technologies in the medical field and as people live longer and life support gets more sophisticated, spelling out how you want to spend your last days becomes increasingly important. Unless this is done, crucial decisions about medical care could be made by people who don't know the patient's intentions or may not have his or her best interests in mind.

"If you want to give a gift to your family, the greatest one you can give them is to put your wishes in writing," says Carol E. Sieger, director of legal affairs for the group Partnership for Caring/Choice in Dying in Washington, D.C. Sieger's organization invented the living will in 1967 and today has expanded into providing advance directives, counseling patients and families, training professionals and lobbying for new laws that allow people to die with dignity. Experts say there are two legal and medical documents that should be completed.

The first is a living will, which describes the medical treatment you'll want if you're too sick to speak for yourself. The second is a durable power of attorney for health care, which authorizes a person you designate to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so.

A third medical legal document, the do-not-resuscitate order, deals only with cardiac arrest. It must be signed by a physician, after consultation with a patient or his or her agent. It says that if you go into cardiac arrest, you are not to be resuscitated. This can be filled out ahead of time, but it is often executed during an illness, when it is determined that CPR would not medically make sense.

Experts say such legally binding documents--known collectively as advance directives--help people maintain the same control toward the end of their lives that they have enjoyed throughout it. "I've had people call me who have dropped thousands and thousands of dollars on court fees because someone didn't sign a $5 document, and they're arguing, 'Uncle Joe said this and, no, Uncle Joe clearly said the opposite.' What do you do when no one's in control and there's no written expression?" Sieger asks rhetorically.

Sieger suggests keeping a copy in a safe place in your home and giving other copies to the person who will act on your behalf, your doctor and even your attorney. Do not put it in a safety deposit box that won't be opened until your death.

In recent years, advocates for end-of-life issues have begun to look at the psycho-social aspects of dying as well as the medical options. Out of these concerns has come one of most innovative new advance directives, a document called "Five Wishes" that includes a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care but also delves into more personal concerns. Five Wishes is a legally valid advance directive in 34 states, including California (as of November 2000).

In addition to traditional directives, it encompasses how comfortable you want to be, how you want people to treat you and what you want your loved ones to know.

More than 1 million copies of the document are in circulation, and 2,000 organizations distribute it nationwide, including churches, synagogues, hospices, hospitals, social service agencies, doctors and lawyers, according to Jim Towey, the Tallahassee, Fla.-based attorney who helped create it.

"A lot of times it isn't just tubes and treatment but comfort and reconciliation and dignity," Towey says. "It's 'Do you want your pain managed? Do you want music playing? Who do you want at your bedside?' If a person's in a coma, it's too late to have that discussion." Of course, this doesn't mean that all your wishes will be granted. "Some things are just that--wishes--and you can't force family members to hold hands when they haven't been speaking for years," Sieger points out.

"But it certainly gives people an opportunity to address those issues that are beyond the legal and clinical. Dying well is not just about the law and the treatment; it's about the spiritual and emotional issues that arise when someone is at the end of their lives."

Sunday, August 19, 2001

More Portland residents  are remaining single

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that the Census figures released about the city of Portland say that area residents are increasingly reluctant to get married.

Data released Thursday show that 175,000 men and women 15 and older remain single. That's an increase of nearly 20 percent since the survey was first taken in 1996.

Sociologists cite several reasons for the shift, including an increase in the number of couples living together, geographic mobility, and an emphasis on education and career.

In Multnomah County, never-married men outnumber never-married women by 55 percent to 45 percent.

Saturday, August 18, 2001

Bay Area single dads slowly on the rise

A story released today by the San Jose Mercury News reports that according to the recently released census figures, the number of single parents is increasing -- and growth is particularly robust among single fathers. In the Bay Area alone, the number of single dads rose 32 percent from 1990 to 2000. And that figure is below the nationwide data that showed the number of families headed by a single fathers grew by 62 percent in the last 10 years.

The Census Bureau defines a single parent as the person with whom the child spends the majority of his or her time -- that could include someone who has primary custody or may have the children in a joint custody arrangement. The category also may include a man who lives with the mother of his children even though the couple are not married.

Experts say many reasons are behind the growth in the number of single dads: Courts are more willing to award custody to fathers; more couples are having children and not getting married; and in some cases, more women are choosing to pursue careers over motherhood, leaving the father in charge.

``There's a stereotype out there that mothers are better parents than fathers,'' said Michael Connor, a professor at California State University-Long Beach, who has studied fatherhood issues for more than three decades. ``When a father steps forward people are surprised, but today's courts are realizing that fathers can take care of their children.''

``There's no doubt that being a single father is a unique family form, complex and fraught with challenges,'' said Ken Canfield, president of the National Center for Fathering. But the trend ``represents the confidence that fathers, when families come apart, can nurture and rear their children.''

Married couples with children still make up about 24 percent of all households nationwide -- but the percentage has steadily declined over the years. In 1970, for example, married couples with children made up 39 percent of the nation's households.

According to Bay Area figures from the Census Bureau, parents without spouses here are most likely to be white, non-Hispanic in background -- 42 percent of those parents are white compared to 22 percent who are Hispanic, 19.5 percent who are black and 11.8 percent who are Asian.

About 48.3 percent of the single fathers in the Bay Area are white, while 27.2 percent are Hispanic, 12.5 percent are black and 11.9 percent are Asian.

Connor said the overwhelming number of white single fathers may reflect courtroom bias against male parents of color when they seek custody.

While many more single dads are raising children on their own, there are often few places they can go for help. And often, even if resources are available, men are sometimes reluctant to take advantage of them, said Long Beach's Connor.

Still, there are signs that policymakers are beginning to understand the important role that fathers can play in their children's lives. Next month, Santa Clara County officials plan to launch a new program to help men -- married or single -- become better fathers.

``Most definitely there's a lot of attention paid to moms and babies, but to have healthy outcomes we need to make sure the dads are involved,'' said Alma Burrell, program manager for the county's public health division.

Friday, August 17, 2001

New Jersey revises state-run insurance program requirements

A story published today by the Bergen Record reports that state officials announced Wednesday that, starting Sept. 1, an estimated 9,000 adults will no longer be eligible for insurance through NJ FamilyCare. This would mean that some poor, single adults and childless couples will soon become ineligible for the state-run health insurance program that has been deluged with applications from uninsured New Jersey residents.

At the same time, the state is launching a $1.5 million marketing effort to increase enrollment among families of four earning $35,300 to $61,775 annually, said acting Human Services Chief James Smith.

"The actions being announced today will strengthen our ability to continue to enroll children and their parents in the program in the months ahead," Smith said in a statement.

Although the state Legislature added $25 million to the program's $490 million budget of state and federal funds, FamilyCare still lacks enough money to cover all the people who need health insurance.

Currently, the program insures about 125,000 adults and 78,000 children. The move will allow the state to enroll another 15,000 adults who will still be eligible for benefits after Sept. 1, said Cece Lentini, Human Services spokeswoman. Lentini said officials hope the marketing campaign will attract more children to the program.

But some lawmakers criticized the decision, saying it is driven by budget considerations instead of people's needs.

"Despite the department's rhetoric, what this decision amounts to is denying coverage for low-income adults," said Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, a member of the Senate Health Committee.

"We learned in the last few weeks that New Jersey has the highest median income in the country," he added.  "For a state this wealthy to freeze our most vulnerable and needy citizens out of our healthcare program should be inconceivable. " Senate Minority Leader Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, also criticized the decision, saying the fiscal year 2002 budget, which began July 1, earmarks more than $125 million for special projects that lawmakers requested for their home districts.

"Some things should be immune to politically motivated budget cuts, and healthcare is one of them," Codey said.

The change means that single people who earn more than $2,600 a year and childless couples earning more than $3,640 a year will no longer be eligible for the program.

Previous income limits allowed a single person to earn up to $8,590 and a couple to earn up to $11,610.  The state already has enrolled 13,000 childless adults who qualified under these income guidelines which will be allowed to remain in the program.

In another change, adults who are still eligible for the program will have to wait even longer before they start getting coverage. The state had been providing coverage as soon as an application was approved, but before they had completed the process of being enrolled in a specific HMO. Under the new rules, people will have to wait until they have chosen and are enrolled in an HMO before they can begin getting coverage.

State health officials, however,  reiterated that people who are no longer eligible can still use the state's charity care program, which allows them to show up at emergency rooms and receive treatment, regardless of their ability to pay.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Study puts wrinkle in welfare-to-work debate

A story published today by the Los Angeles Times reports that according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research organization in Washington, the poverty rate for families headed by single, working women has held steady in the late 1990s, despite a booming economy that lifted other households.

As a result, the 19.4% poverty rate for such families in 1999 was essentially the same as four years earlier, even though private earnings increased in those households.

By comparison, the poverty rate for all families with children was 10.6% in 1999, compared with 13% four years earlier, reflecting clear gains from the late 1990s boom.

"If you really want people to work, you want to reward them," said Wendell Primus, a former Clinton administration welfare official and expert on income security issues at the think tank. "People who work should be a whole lot better off than people who don't. What this study is saying is they aren't."

The findings, which come as the historic welfare reform law approaches its fifth birthday, could provide grist for future debate because Congress next year must fund the welfare grant and reconsider its priorities for aiding the poor. Critics of the existing welfare policy contend that former beneficiaries, cut off by the new time limits for receiving benefits, need more support services to help them not only survive in the workplace but also climb the economic ladder.

Others, however, maintain that a reduction in poverty was never the first aim of welfare reform, that the goal was to cut the welfare rolls, which has been achieved to a remarkable degree.

"I don't know any proponent of welfare reform who thought the immediate goal was to reduce poverty," said Douglas J. Besharov, a social welfare scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "For many of these women, it's the first or second serious job that they've ever had. It's going to take time for them to move up."

"The general message of this report is that for very disadvantaged single mothers, work alone does not seem to be enough," said Kathryn H. Porter, who is co-author of the report with Allen Dupree, also of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Since 1996, welfare rolls nationally were cut by more than half from their 1994 peak of 14.3 million. States faced with the sudden windfalls of unspent welfare funds steered some of the money into support services for the working poor, such as child care, transportation and training.

Even as states did so, welfare beneficiaries often experienced a sharp loss of benefits overall. Not only were their monthly checks eliminated or scaled back, but many who remained eligible for food stamps were also cut off when their welfare status changed.

"These two factors [welfare and food stamps] are offsetting the earnings gains," said Primus of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "They're not coming out ahead. That's really the bottom line of this story."

But others argue that the move from welfare to work a good thing. "Mothers went to work and the sky didn't fall," said Besharov. "We halved the welfare rolls without any apparent harm to welfare recipients. That's the story here."

Telling your kids when you lose your job

A story published today by the Boston Globe reports that as Massachusetts economy slows along with the nation's, some parents who experience a layoff or change in financial status should be open to their children of the changes that might happen to the family's daily routine or financial spending. It is true, for instance, that children need to be shielded from gory details, especially the agony of how to make ends meet. Not even young children, however, should be spared the basic facts.

That's because children don't need our words to know something is wrong.

"They perceive it in other says," says psychologist Keith Crnic, who teaches at Pennsylvania State University: from our body language and mood, from changes in behavior, from something as subtle as a diminished desire for pistachio ice cream.

In the absence of information, children's imaginations take over. For some children, it runs amok: What they imagine is worse than the truth. The younger the child, the more likely she is to jump to magical, egocentric assumptions: "Daddy isn't happy because I spilled the milk." Some children start to think catastrophically: "Mom and dad are getting a divorce."

Once a child comes to a conclusion, it's real for him even if it's really fiction, and he has real emotional reactions to it, says Crnic, from tantrums and acting-out behaviors, to changes in sleeping or eating patterns, to lack of interest in friends. Clueing children in on the situation in a truthful but age-appropriate way is the best antidote.

Children of all ages also need to hear:

"Daddy didn't do anything wrong." Say this explicitly, says Carleton W. Kendrick Jr. a social worker who specializes in employment issues and is the resident family therapist for LearningNetwork.com.  Most children's frame of reference revolves around blame: When you get a time-out, it's because you did something bad; if you're suspended from school, it's because you did something wrong. Unless you say so, they will likewise assume you did something wrong. This may not be important initially, but as time passes, a child may become angry with a parent:  "I can't take ballet because stupid mom lost her job; if she hadn't made mistakes, this wouldn't happen to me!" Eleven- to 15-year-olds are the ones most likely to succumb to a blaming mentality, says sociologist Elaine Wethington of Cornell University.

Researchers tell parents to be authentic, but only to a point: Acknowledge negative feelings ("I'm sad/scared"), but don't dwell on them or burden a child with them ("I'm too upset to think about what you can wear to the party"). Be truthful about the future from the onset: "We will need to make some changes about how we spend money, but not yet."

"Teens get spooked the most," says Kendrick. "They're beginning to approach the job market themselves. It shakes their concept of what life is supposed to be." The more educated the parent and the longer he or she has worked for the company, the more intense the teen's disillusionment, leading some to try less hard at school ("What's the point anyway?") and others to engage in risky behaviors to medicate frustration and fear.

The more you involve children in decisions about cutting expenses, the better. "It gives them a sense of control over the outcome rather than feeling it was imposed on them," says Wethington.

Wethington also stresses the importance of encouraging children to contribute to the family, whether it's a 9-year-old who agrees to wear hand-me-down back-to-school clothes or a 4-year-old who draws mom a cheery "Good luck on your interview" card.

While it may not feel that way now, these efforts can have unexpected benefits, from drawing a family closer together to building strength of character.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Unmarried couples more common in Pittsburgh area

A story published today by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the latest Census 2000 data for Pittsburgh show that the number of both heterosexuals and homosexuals defining themselves as "unmarried partners" is slowly surging, while fewer people are living together in marriage.

While the number of households containing married couples declined 6 percent in the six-county metropolitan area between 1990 and 2000, the unmarried-partner households nearly doubled. The Census Bureau's April 2000 national survey also found 37,413 unmarried, heterosexual couples sharing a residence in the metro area.

Dinah Denmark and Trish Oleska of Mt. Lebanon, a lesbian couple who've been together for six years, are among 3,693 same-sex couples counted locally. That's five times as many as in 1990, although analysts say that rate of increase is exaggerated by changes that were made in Census Bureau methodology and a greater willingness by homosexuals to acknowledge their relationships on a government form.

Demographers and sociologists say that the decline in married couples locally mirrors national trends under way since the 1970s. Nationally, the number of unmarried couples jumped about 72 percent during the 1990s, to 5.5 million. In this region, it jumped 92 percent.

Analysts say the rise in unmarried partners has accompanied such societal shifts as increased divorce rates and more liberal attitudes toward premarital sex.

Institutions that value the tradition of marriage aren't willing to concede, however, that the trend is inevitable.

"It's a phenomenon we're very much aware of and concerned about," said the Rev. Kris Stubna, secretary of education for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. "It seems the number of couples coming to us who are cohabitating before marriage is increasing, and it's become a major pastoral concern."

Pamela Smock, associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, noted that prior studies have shown each new group of young adults is cohabitating at a higher rate than their predecessors. But the studies also have found nearly half of unmarried partners are 35 or older.

Denmark and Oleska don't even have the option to consider themselves married, because same-sex unions are not recognized legally in the state, but they expressed pride just in being able to list themselves on the census form as "unmarried partners," the same as heterosexual couples.

"This data will help people know gay people are not just some abstract idea -- we're your neighbors -- and that changes the discussion from some noisy debate you hear on TV to actually affecting real people's lives," said David Smith, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay advocacy organization.

Still, Denmark was disbelieving that the census showed fewer than one of every 200 households in Allegheny County was inhabited by a gay or lesbian couple. Of the 45 metropolitan areas of 1 million or more for which information has been released so far, Pittsburgh was 44th in its rate of same-sex households, with only Buffalo ranking lower.

"One out of 200? That's nothing. ... It's very disappointing," said Denmark, 38.

"I think that speaks to the closet factor that still exists, which is unfortunate. The only way we're going to start to be able to get the same advantages that opposite-sex couples take for granted is by showing there is significance in numbers."

Gary Gates, an Urban Institute research associate analyzing the same-sex data, said one key census finding that may dispel myths is that virtually every county in the country contains homosexual couples. That includes all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, many of them rural.

"When they think of policies that affect gays and lesbians, many people think that only affects people in big cities. What these data suggest is that's not the case at all, whether we're talking about same-sex marriages or domestic benefits or adoption rights," Gates said.

More unmarried couples and fewer families in old Philadelphia neighborhoods

A story published today by the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that according to the recently released Census report, Philadelphia’s neighborhoods has seen a lot of changes in households, housing, and ethnicities.

In the nation's fifth-largest city, the household mosaic shows that in almost every neighborhood, led by Manayunk, a greater share of households with single people or unrelated roommates, so-called non-families have slowly increased.

In Tacony/Wissinoming, a modest neighborhood along the Delaware River, there was a doubling in the share of temporarily vacant homes, evidence of an elderly generation's passing away.

Most neighborhoods had more couples living together without getting married. In Juniata Park/Feltonville for example, married couples made up less than a fifth of the households, while unmarried couples rose to nearly 10 percent.

Illustrating the city's new household map, the share of families led by single women declined in in the neighborhoods of North Philadelphia but doubled in the north-central neighborhoods of Lawncrest and Oxford Circle/Castor - two destinations for young families.

David W. Bartelt, a Temple University sociologist who has studied the city's families, noted that white and black families on the move tend to leave the city rather than go to another neighborhood, unlike immigrants, such as Latinos, who may move within the city.

Among the movers were unmarried couples, with and without children. Similar to trends nationwide, their number in the city grew 28 percent during the decade, to 30,921 households, with the greatest number residing in the north-central neighborhoods.

Nancy Saunders, a psychologist in Swarthmore who counsels unmarried couples, said she believed the city may be more conducive to unmarried households because "it's more sophisticated, more heterogeneous, than the suburbs. . . . It can be harder in the suburbs because there's a nuclear-family bias."

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

New Jersey Supreme Court allows mother to dispose of embryos

A story released today by Reuters reports that the New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously granted a divorced woman permission to dispose of seven frozen embryos left over from her failed marriage, despite the objections of her ex-husband.

In the fourth state court decision in a growing area of controversy for divorced U.S. couples, seven New Jersey high court justices upheld two lower court decisions by rejecting the claims of an agreement the man and woman made while still married that would have preserved the embryos for other childless couples.

The ruling allows for the embryos to be destroyed or donated to research.

The New Jersey ruling strikes at the heart of an ongoing national debate over whether embryos produced by the process of in-vitro fertilization should be considered property or a form of human life.

Tuesday's ruling followed similar decisions handed down over the past nine years by courts in New York, Massachusetts and Tennessee, which have all ruled that embryos cannot be used for reproductive purposes without the consent of both parents.

Parental divorce affects a woman's dating relationship

A story released today by Reuters Health reports that young women whose parents are divorced have less satisfaction and trust and more conflict in their current dating relationships than do their peers whose parents are still together, study results suggest.

"Children of divorce see the limitations of relationships and don't go into it with rose-colored glasses," lead author Dr. Susan E. Jacquet, of the California Social Work Education Center in Berkeley, told Reuters Health. "They quite easily could be more cautious, and don't jump in with both feet into the deep end."

The researchers studied a random sample of 232 heterosexual couples ages 19 to 35 to see whether parental divorce affected the quality of their own dating relationships.

The findings are published in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Women who had divorced parents were also more likely to value the concept of commitment less than women of non-divorced parents, the investigators found.

However, these findings may not necessarily be all negative, Jacquet pointed out.

"Why do we always think something is pathological?" she said. "These people (may be) becoming more cautious and thoughtful, rather than just jumping into a relationship. The fact that women are more hesitant to trust may mean they're a bit more cautious and that they're paying more attention before they move on to more advanced stages of the relationship."

The study also found some effects of divorce on male partners. Men of divorced parents reported investing more money and "tangible goods" in their relationships than men of non-divorced parents did.

Men were also more likely to report feelings of trust in their partner's kindness when their female partner came from an intact family rather than from one affected by divorce.

Overall, parental divorce showed the strongest effects among couples who were casually dating, rather than seriously involved. This suggests that couples with divorced parents may be more likely to enter a relationship with an established outlook on romantic relationships in general--feeling, for example, negativity or pragmatic realism.

"Divorce plays a role in future romance," Jacquet said. "It can have a positive influence as likely as it can have a negative influence."

Hawaii support group forming for single mothers

A story published today by Kauaiworld.com reports that with the increase of single mothers and single grandmothers raising children in Hawaii, Keiki 'Ohana Therapeutic Services is facilitating a series of free weekly discussions that would become a support group for the beleaguered and isolated single mothers and grandmother raising children.

The sessions will be held each Tuesday for six to eight weeks, and possibly longer, at the Kapa'a Public Library from 1 to 2 p.m.

Single-parenting issues will be discussed in the informal setting, including role identification, discipline, nurturing, self-esteem, self-care and community services available to the single moms and grandmothers, said Tali McCall, owner of Keiki 'Ohana Therapeutic Services, and Shellie Henderson, who will both lead the sessions.

The focus of the informal group will be to give single mothers emotional and social support, offer stress reduction techniques, and otherwise help to contribute to participants' general well-being.

The group is open to single, separated, widowed and divorced mothers and grandmothers ages 18 and above.

Henderson and McCall said there is no program like this currently on the island, and both are eager to get this project started.

"I'm excited. I think our community can really use it," said Henderson.


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