Statistically, we don't care about our children

Published March 9, 2018

By Joe Mavretic

by Joe Mavretic, former NC House Speaker and NC SPIN panelist, March 8, 2018.

I have yet to read a serious study concluding that single parent homes raise better children than homes with both biological parents. Described another way, "Homes with the Mom and Dad raise better kids than those with just a Mom or a Dad." In spite of all the stories about how some wonderful person, working three jobs, starving so the children could eat, raised a doctor, a lawyer and a school teacher, the average outcomes aren’t so good. We just love to remember one hard-luck success story and to overlook the other seven that ended in dropouts, poverty, workfare, unemployment, or incarceration. We tend to put a lot of hope in stories and to ignore the statistics. The fact is that, on average, most parents in this state do not care enough about raising their children.

My research suggests that, in North Carolina, less than three of every ten children will live with both biological parents until age eighteen. Described another way, "At least seventy percent of children born in North Carolina will be raised in a single/mixed family home." Subtracting the homes in which a biological parent dies does not significantly change the statistic. This is the real world situation in our state today and this is not going to change any time soon. As the tenth largest state in this nation, we will not reach our potential until we decide to focus on families.

For the future, what can be done to create better family situations for our children? As a beginning, we need to identify the biological parents of every child born in this state. Recording the biological mother is simple; knowing and recording the biological father is not. This legal recognition must be the foundation of all services provided by the state and every action taken by the state. Conception has consequences and parenting has responsibilities.

Next, biological parenting must have established responsibilities that are enforceable. We have chosen to be organized by counties so identification, entitlement and enforcement should originate in counties. Counties need to begin to pay more attention to the homes where our children spend their first ten years. Let’s divide this into two phases and call them the, "TWO SIDES of EVERY NICKEL."

The FIRST SIDE of the NICKEL begins at conception and requires that every parent is routinely, and consistently, monitored to ensure a healthy birth into a secure home… not just the pregnant female but the biological father as well. The first task at the county level is to determine which homes must be monitored. Two good indicators of secure homes is the education level of the pregnant female and the employment status of the biological father. Homes that are not secure must be identified and services delivered though birth and early development to ensure a child is "School-Ready" by age five. The social costs to do this are about one-third the future costs of not doing it.

The OTHER SIDE of the NICKEL begins in school and ends after the fifth grade. Students from monitored homes must be afforded the same opportunities as their classmates. Students that need glasses should have them; those with dental problems must visit a dentist; no child should shiver at the bus stop; none should start classes hungry; no child should live in a home without books. The worst childhood disability is being born into a house that does not care.

If we believe that children matter in North Carolina, the activities and priorities of our counties, the committees and budgets of our General Assembly, and our system of courts should reflect that concern. Our next generations must be better than the ones before.

Esse Quam Videri

March 9, 2018 at 11:43 am
Norm Kelly says:

Seems to make sense.

Challenge is it also sounds like big brother. When does gov't involvement in the home start to be socialist interference in the daily lives of people? Aren't we a free nation, where the family is sacred and above gov't interference? At what point do policies like those championed by our fortunately-former president become intrusive and over burdensome? At what point does family sovereignty trump gov't overreach? And who exactly will monitor these families? And at what point will an overzealous gov't employee decide the children will be better off taken away from the bio parents?

Isn't identifying these homes that should be monitored exactly what libs always always always object to? It's called profiling! And it shouldn't happen. Identifying both bio parents, and holding both responsible, is a lofty goal. We could start with holding the absent bio parent responsible in every way, especially financially.