The divorce experiment

Press Conference, Continued

Bob Ruthazer of First Things First of Greater Richmond is speaking now: In Richmond, non-marital births are more than 80 percent among blacks and more than 60 percent for all residents. Fatherless children are:

Five times more likely to be poor;

Two-three more times likely to smoke;

Two times more likely to drop out of school;

150 times more likely have a non-marital teen pregnancy;

70 percent of juveniles in state institutions grow up in fatherless homes; and

72 percent of adolescent murderers grow up without fathers.

This is the time to make a modest investment in families. Just one percent investment of TANF funds would make a huge impact.

Now, Arne Owens, a former federal sub-cabinet official is speaking:

Academics throughout the decades, going back to the 1970s, stayed quiet. But in the late 1980s, they started to confront the issue as the statistics became undeniable. Dan Quayle was right about "Murphy Brown"! As one academic wrote, "The divorce experiment has failed."

In the 1990s, a movement began to take shape to advance marriage and the two-parent family. The result was the 1996 welfare reform act. It was designed to negate the negative impact of AFDC (Aid to Families of Dependent Children). It paid a young mother to get divorced and more for each additional child she had out of wedlock.

One of the goals was to move people off welfare and into the workforce. While that has been successful, it has not reached its goals in strengthening families and marriage.

In 2005, Congress passed a $150 million appropriation from TANF funding, that would be dispersed through grants to non-profit groups, to promote fatherhood and intact families, encouraging marriage and preventing divorce.

The CDC said a few weeks ago that out-of wedlock births in this country still is more than 60 percent.

Victoria Cobb summarizes by saying that Governor Kaine cannot address poverty without addressing broken families.