November 30, 2001
Children of divorced couples have a hard time committing
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."
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
"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.
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.
Newspaper helps single mothers for
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
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
Nebraskas 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
"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,
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.