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(Barely) Caring For Our Children: A crisis exceeding all others

“He who troubles his own house shall inherit the wind.” (Proverbs)

FOUNDING FATHERS’ PERSPECTIVE

“It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate…our children.”  (John Adams)

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams)

FACTS

There are approximately 74 million children (ages 0-17) in the US., accounting for 24% of the total population.  56% of these children are White, 22% Latino, 14% Black, and 4% are Asian. Between the 10-year period of 1990 – 2000, the number of White children decreased by 7%, and the number of Latino children increased by 42%.
National Association for Education of Young Children, 2016.  “Critical facts about children and families.” 


The US infant mortality rate is the highest among the 12 countries with a comparable standard of living – in some cases, the US rate is twice as high. The infant deaths overwhelmingly occur with babies born to poor mothers even though 95% of the children in the US are covered by health insurance.
Business Insider, 10/20/14. Ferro, Shane “Here’s why infant mortality is so high in the US”
Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, July 24, 2015.  Gonzales, Selena, et al “How infant mortality rates in the US compare to rates in other countries”
Childstats.gov, 2015. “Health Insurance Coverage” 


About 1 out of every 5 American children lives below the poverty level. The US ranks 34th out of the 35 developed countries with the highest child-poverty rates.

The US is the richest nation in history, possessing the largest economy and the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires.

AlterNet, 12/17/14. Leopold, Les “Think about it: the US is the richest country as well as the most unequal”
National Center for Children in Poverty, 2014. “Child Poverty”
Washington Post, 4/15/13. Fisher, Max. “How 35 countries compare on child poverty” 


5,250 US teenage girls give birth every week. 89% of them are unmarried.

On average, 54% of all US children live in single parent homes; ranging from 17% of Asian children to 29% of White, 43% of Latino, and 73% of Black. These rates have increased 35% during the past 37 years. Of the 29 developed countries with the highest single parent rates, the US ranks 28th.

There are about 1 million abortions in the US every year.

Center for Disease Control, 1/6/17. “Reproductive health; CDC abortion surveillance”
Teen Health, “Teen pregnancy statistics”
Politifact, 7/29/13. Jacobson, Louis. “CNN’s Don Lemon says 72% of African-American births are out of wedlock”
Pew Research Center, 12/22/14. Livingston, Gretchen “Fewer than half of US kids today live in ‘traditional family’”
Education Next, 2015. Woessman, Ludger “An international look at the single parent family” 


There are 400,000 children in the US foster-care system: referred there because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  100,000 kids each year want to be adopted, but only 50,000 find homes.  30,000 foster kids annually “age-out”, or become too old to be adopted. The average adopted child is almost 8 years old, and 1/3 of them have been in foster care for at least 3 years.
Show Hope. “Four statistics you should know about the orphan crisis”
Good Housekeeping, 12/8/15. Fogle, Asher “Surprising facts you may not know about adoption” 


700,000 children in the US are sexually and/or physically abused every year. Children in their first year of life are abused the most, and 4 out of 5 of their abusers are the victims’ parents.

The US is one of the top 5 countries in the world for child abuse. 1 out of 4 girls, and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused before they turn 18.

National Children’s Alliance. “National Statistics on Child Abuse”
International Business Times, 2/12/14. Ioccino, Ludovica “Child sexual abuse: top 5 countries with the highest rates” 


About 300,000 American children per year are at-risk for being trafficked for sex. The majority are girls between 11 and 14, and 70% of them are from foster homes. The average life expectancy of a sex trafficking victim is 7 years. They die from beatings, sexually-transmitted diseases, drug overdoses, malnutrition, and suicide.

The US government spends 300 times more money to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking, and the penalties for selling drugs are much greater than for selling humans.

Think Progress, 10/6/12 “Girls, human trafficking, and modern slavery in America”
Ark of Hope for Children, 3/19/16. “Child Trafficking Statistics” 


American teenagers use illegal drugs at a rate 2.5 times higher than their European counterparts, and have much less concern about the potentially damaging effects. 46% of all high school students currently use addictive substances, and one-third of them meet the medical criteria for addiction.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 6/6/12. “Dramatic differences found in American and European substance use”
US News & World Report, 6/29/11. “Addiction starts early in American society, report finds” 


The US incarcerates 55,000 children annually, more than any other country in the world.

The total number of US juvenile gang members is over 1 million, which would make them the 10th largest city in the US.  Law enforcement agencies usually under-report this statistic by about 300%.

Wikipedia. “Youth incarceration in the United States”
Child Trends. “Juvenile detention”
Sam Houston State University, 2/16/14. Kuhles, Beth “New study finds juvenile gang membership tops 1 million” 


US students place behind 37 other countries in the world in math skills, and rank 24th in science. After several years of slight improvement, most US academic scores have started to go down again.

The US workforce ranks 5th in the world for productivity.

Pew Research Center, 2/15/17 DeSilver,Drew “US students academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries”
Time Magazine, 1/4/17. Johnson, David “These are the most productive countries in the world” 


In the most recently measured school year, student attacks on teachers totaled 209,800 (1,175 per day). This was a 35% increase from the previous year.
CNS News.com, 6/10/14. Brown, Lauretta “Student attacks on teachers up 34.5%…” 


The child obesity rate in the US is higher than 88% of the top 40 developed nations, with 1 out of every 3 kids overweight. This is a 300% increase since the 1970’s. It increases the likelihood of adult obesity, and is a causative factor for multiple health and social problems. Only 8% of US kids ages 12-19 get the minimum recommended amount of exercise per day.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, June 2014 “Obesity Update”
Center for Disease Control, 2016. “Childhood obesity facts”
Livestrong.com, 1/16/14. Wylie, Rebecca “The average amount of kids that get exercise in the US”


Family participation in activities that build moral and/or spiritual values in children continues its years-long decline.

Only 20% of families regularly attend church with their children.

Participation by children and their parents in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts , continues to decrease by 5-10% per year.

CBS News, 10/10/14 “Why are fewer girls joining the Girl Scouts?”
Church Leaders, 12/29/15. Shattuck, Kelly “7 startling facts: an up-close look at church attendance in America”
Reuters, 1/17/15. Richter Marice. “Boy Scout membership falls again in 2014”


SUMMARY

Almost 200 years ago, French sociologist Alexis de Toqueville visited America, and was impressed with what he saw in this relatively new country. He allegedly stated: “America is great because she is good, and if America ever CEASES to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Every statistical category points to the fact that regarding our children, America HAS lost its “goodness” – its national soul. Something is terribly wrong with how our kids are being parented, protected, educated, and cared for, and the trend in most categories is worsening.


POSSIBLE SOLUTION

The well-being of our children must become a top national priority in order to maintain our nation’s economy, public safety, defense, and health. Responsible parenting, safe and effective schools,  a respect for law enforcement, healthy lifestyles, clean/sober living, teaching moral/spiritual values, developing a strong work ethic, and personal accountability are critical to saving our children and nation.

Brief 28A – March 10, 2017

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