Strengthening the Family

 “If you neglect your family,
it’s like straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
(author unknown)


  • Society’s problems arise, almost without exception, out of the homes of the people.  The moral fabric of our society is unraveling.  The breakdown of the family is adversely affecting individuals, community, and the nation.  If we are going to reform society, we must begin in our homes by returning to those time-tested values which strengthen families. 
  • The family—which is the most important unit in our society—can never be replaced by after school programs, government substitutes, or civic groups. 

    “The family is the nearest hospital, the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly.  The family constitutes the best social capital.  It cannot be replaced by other institutions.  It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of services, which society as a whole provides.”  (Pope Francis, “Francis stresses the power of family unity in Ecuador,” by Jim Wyss, Tribune News Service, July 7, 2015)
  • Government programs do not make a difference in making people better, because they cannot offer relationships. Changing people’s behavior is done through relationships—a good parent, teacher, minister, friend—people who cause us to want to develop our capacities.
  • Spokane Cares desires to help strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.  Although the family is the basic unit of society, the family is under attack in society today.  The world is sending mixed signals about the importance of marriage, and devaluing the importance of mothers and fathers. 

    Families are becoming increasingly more fragile. Divorce rates are increasing dramatically, and childbearing is greatly increasing outside of two-parent families.  Social science shows the social cost and implications of declining family structure.  For example,       
    • Children from homes without intact family structures are more likely to suffer economically, psychologically, and socially.  This is often manifest in physical abuse, substance abuse, and other behavioral risk factors.
    • Growing up outside of an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children themselves divorce or become unwed parents.
    • Fatherlessness increases the risk of a child’s failure in school.
    • Fatherlessness decreases the probability a child attends college.
    • Fatherlessness disproportionately impacts poorer families.
    • Cycles of poverty are more likely to perpetuate in non-married family structures.
Many resilient children are overcoming these challenges.  However, we cannot minimize poverty without considering fatherlessness, because the two are intricately connected. 

(Sources:  News Series Focused on Fatherlessness in American Society, The Atlantic and Deseret News; “Happiness in Family Life” by President Clark Gilbert; “Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” 2011, by W. Bradford Wilcox)
Statistics
  • We are becoming a fatherless society-- 40% of children live in a home with no biological father.  In addition, 6 of 10 new marriages break up, spreading overwhelming dysfunction throughout our society.  As a result of this epidemic, parents struggle to teach and parent their children.   (Gallop Poll) 

  • Married couples only live in 48% of all U.S. households, marking a historic shift in what constitutes the traditional American family.  Higher divorce rates, a willingness to marry later in life, social acceptance of unmarried cohabitation, and a lack of family values are contributing to this.   (CNN, May 2011) 
What You Can Do to Help Strengthen Families
  • Encourage local, state and national politicians, as well as businesses, to consider their impact on the family in all of the decisions they make. Establish a Family Filter to protect and support the most important unit of our society. 
  • Volunteer to teach parenting classes locally.  Contact the Spokane Regional Health District, community centers, crisis centers, etc.
  • Volunteer to teach and model parenting skills on a one-on-one basis by visiting another parent weekly.  Discuss how to deal with difficulties, and give tips on positive discipline and communication.

Local Organizations
Additional Resources
  • Children’s Home Society helps new parents learn how to be better parents, break the cycle of child abuse, and bring out positive results in raising children.
  • Relatives Raising Relatives is a program of Children’s Home Society.  They provide information assistance, monthly newsletter, group activities and a reference library.  Call for information about support group meetings. 
(509) 747-4174
2323 N. Discovery Rd
Spokane Valley, WA   99216
Support, Care and Networking (SCAN)
458-7445
Volunteer parent-aids work on a one-to-one basis with troubled parents who have requested supportive services in an effort to prevent child abuse or neglect.

The Family Policy Institute of Washington, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting public policy that recognizes the significance and sanctity of the family in Washington State.
(425) 608-7216 or (425) 608-0242
http://www.fpiw.org