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U.S. News Archive
November 29 - November 30, 2001



This page contains news for the period November 29, 2001 through November 30, 2001.  

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Friday, November 30, 2001

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Children of divorced couples have a hard time committing into marriage

A story released today by Reuters Health reports that a recent study conducted by Dr. Paul R. Amato of Pennsylvania University in University Park reveals that, children of divorced parents are known to be at increased risk for later problems in their own marriages, including divorce.

"Children who grow up with divorced parents tend to reach adulthood with a relatively weak commitment to the norm of lifelong marriage," said Dr. Amato, author of the study. "When their own marriages become troubled, they tend to leave the relationship rather than stick it out or work on it."

This may be particularly true among children of parents who divorced after only minimal levels of conflict, his study found.

To investigate marital instability across generations, Amato and co-author Dr. Danelle D. DeBoer, now of Doane College in Nebraska, performed a 17-year study of more than 2,000 married individuals and 335 of their offspring who married during the study period.

Overall, divorces were more common among children whose parents had divorced than among those whose parents remained married--a finding consistent with previous study results, Amato and DeBoer report in the November issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Children were also more likely to think of divorcing their spouse if their parents divorced or if their parents remained married but reported a high level of discord in the relationship, the report indicates.

Children of divorced parents were more than twice as likely to report experiencing a disruption in their own marriage than were their peers whose parents remained married with a low level of discord. On the other hand, children whose parents divorced after reporting a low level of discord were at an extremely high risk of divorce in comparison to those whose parents reported a medium or high level of discord prior to divorce.

"Growing up in a divorced family does not doom a person to have an unsuccessful marriage," Amato explained. "But adults with divorced parents may have to work a little harder to keep their marriages strong."

He added, "All marriages go through difficult times. Adult children of divorce, along with all (other) adults, need to be careful not to rush into a divorce, especially when there are children in the household."

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Advocates for Youth launches new campaign to address teen sexual education

A story released today by U.S. Newswire reports that the Advocates for Youth, the only non-profit organization working exclusively on adolescent sexual and reproductive health at home and abroad, will announce the launch of its nationwide Rights. Respect. Responsibility. (3Rs) campaign at its 20th Anniversary Conference.

The three day conference will culminate in an advocacy day to focus attention on a more comprehensive approach to sexuality education.

"Rights. Respect. Responsibility. is a campaign to help America get over its discomfort talking about sex," said James Wagoner, president, Advocates for Youth. "It's a call to get real about teens and sex so that we can more effectively prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease."

The 3Rs campaign is grounded in lessons learned by examining the policies and practices of countries like the Netherlands, France and Germany that have been more successful in helping young people protect themselves from teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

"These countries are more successful when it comes to sexuality because they are open, they educate their young people, and they base their public policies on research rather than politics," concluded Wagoner.

Over the next three years, the 3Rs campaign will focus on the following four goals:

- Changing National Policy on Sexuality Education

- Promoting What Works and Helping Parents Find Their Voice

- Youth Leadership

- The Media and Healthy Sexuality

In addition, from Dec. 2 - 4, youth serving professionals, health and sexuality educators, health care providers, youth activists and policy makers from around the country will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss sexual health services and programs for young people. Advocates for Youth's 20th anniversary conference will focus on promoting the Rights. Respect. Responsibility vision of sexuality education.

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Social Security panel presents Bush varied plans to  restore retirement program to solvency

A story published today by the Los Angeles Times reports that The heads of a presidential commission appointed by President Bush to tackle the issue on Social Security left it to president on Thursday to decide whether to make affluent workers pay hundreds of dollars a year in additional taxes to help keep the retirement system solvent.

The commission, delegated by Bush to find ways to let workers control some of their own payroll taxes, is shaping three alternatives to present to him next month. One plan would let working American invest about one-third of their taxes themselves, instead of sending all of the money to the government. Another would let them control about two-thirds of their taxes. The final approach would add an individual investment fund to the existing program. The individual account would be fed by a payment of 1% of taxable wages by each worker, augmented by a government contribution of 2.5%.

The third plan might include an increase in the $80,400 on which workers now owe their Social Security taxes of 6.2%. Lifting the wage base to $85,000 a year would add about $285 a year to the tax bill of those who earn that much or more.

Commission co-chairman Richard Parsons said he wanted the White House to tell him whether this approach would violate Bush's prohibition against higher taxes as a way to help close Social Security's funding gap when the baby boom generation retires.

His co-chairman, former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), said he considered increasing the wage base a technical adjustment, not a tax hike. No matter what the name, Parsons admitted that some wage earners would pay more.

"There is no pain-free way" to bring Social Security to long-term solvency, Parsons told reporters during a break in the commission's deliberations.

Moynihan said the commission's options would give Congress, the White House and the American people something to think about next year.

The president and Congress are considered unlikely to tackle the issue in earnest until after next year's congressional elections.

With all these plans, the money for the personal accounts would be deposited in a central fund using the federal payroll tax system. The workers would have a choice of three types of funds (growth, moderate risk and conservative) containing stocks and bonds. When the personal accounts reached a certain level, workers would be allowed to have more choices of mutual funds.

Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento), the House Democrats' major spokesman on Social Security issues, called the three plans "meaningless." "I could have done this by myself in two hours," he said. "They didn't need a 15-member commission and a big staff."

The stock market's volatility in the past 18 months illustrates the risks that would accompany private investment accounts, Matsui said.

Regardless of what happens with the commission's particular offerings to the White House, Social Security's financing must be dealt with to provide retirement for the 76 million baby boomers, those born from 1946 through 1964, who belong to the biggest generation in American history.

The oldest of them will be eligible for full retirement benefits starting in 2012. Social Security has a surplus, but the system as now constituted will face a financial crisis around 2038, when it will no longer be able to pay promised benefits.


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Newspaper helps single mothers for the holidays

A story published today by the Boston Globe reports that being a young, working adult going to college at Christmas time is hard enough. But there are some people who have even more stress than most at this time of the year - such as young, single women trying to balance classes and motherhood.

Many of these women have taken on responsibilities that most of their peers are still years away from worrying about and are now struggling just to put food on the table for their families.

As a result, such mothers are again reaching out to Globe Santa, a program established by the Boston Globe to help needy children at Christmas time. Ever since 1956, when the Globe took over the Santa Fund from the now-defunct Boston Post, those who have been supporting Globe Santa have shown great concern for less fortunate children that other groups have matched donations acquired by the paper.

A 24-year-old single mother of three, who is also a full-time student at a community college on the North Shore, is among those writing for help in giving her children a better Christmas after recently leaving their father.

She said she was being physically abused and wanted to protect her children from further emotional abuse.

''My children have had a very traumatic beginning of their lives, witnessing severe domestic physical abuse to myself from their father,'' she wrote.

''So now we start over,'' she adds. ''It is hard, but worth every sweat and tear.''

Another young woman, who is 20 years old and studying to become a nurse, is also seeking help in giving her 15-month-old child a better Christmas.

''She is the best thing, person, love that was ever blessed upon me,'' she wrote of her child. ''I would do anything to keep my daughter happy and content.''

Fortunately for her and many others in need, there are places to turn. Globe Santa, with the help of thousands of donors each year, has been helping families in eastern Massachusetts for 46 years.

Requests for toys should be mailed to Globe Santa, P.O. Box 1525, Boston, MA, 02104, and must be received by midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Each family must write a letter, with address and phone number included, to Globe Santa, explaining its need, including the name, sex, and age of each child hoping to receive gifts. Children 14 and under are eligible.

Requests must be countersigned by a licensed social worker familiar with the family or by a member of the clergy with congregation census records verifying the family's involvement with the church. These signatures, and either the state office stamp or church seal, must accompany each letter.


Thursday, November 29, 2001

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Nebraska’s out of wedlock birth rate on the rise

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that according to the Nebraska Health and Human Services System, births to single mothers in Nebraska are at an all-time high even though more people were married in 2000 than any other year since 1983.

New data collected from last year's birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates also shows fewer Nebraskans dying and the state's divorce rate holding steady.

Out-of-wedlock births increased to a record 6,697, compared with previous highs of 6,183 in 1999 and 6,172 in 1998.

Unmarried mothers accounted for 27 percent of all births in the state, up from 24 percent five years ago.

"There has very definitely been a change in attitude about unwed mothers in Nebraska and the nation overall," said Dr. Richard Raymond, the state's chief medical officer.

"It used to be that when a young girl got pregnant, she got married. That has changed," Raymond said. "More women are choosing to have a baby out of wedlock rather than terminate their pregnancies or get married."

Steady increases in recent years in the number of unmarried mothers over age 25 also suggest more couples who live together are having children without getting married, Raymond said.

Despite those changes, the state's marriage and divorce rates remained steady with 7.8 marriages and 3.7 divorces per every 1,000 people. Most of the divorces involved couples married for less than eight years.


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