Wisconsin legislatures debate a controversial bill proposed by the GOP that would establish single parenthood as a factor contributing to child abuse and neglect, news sources report.
Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, the Assistant Majority Leader, proposed the bill, which would require the sate to say that "nonmarital parenthood" contributes to child abuse and neglect, and distribute official literature saying as much, according to Think Progress.
Children living with two married, biological parents have the lowest rate of abuse and neglect, according to the United States Department of Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Children living with a parent and unmarried partner have more than eight times the incidence of maltreatment than those living with two married biological parents, the Badger Herald reported.
Jennifer Jones, associate director of Children's Trust Fund, the board that would be required to distribute the official information, told the Badger Herald that there are other issues that put children at risk for maltreatment, which aren't addressed in the bill. These include parental substance abuse, mental health concerns, domestic violence, teen parenthood, low maternal education, parental history of child maltreatment, poverty and unemployment, according to research complied by the Children's Trust Fund.
Lisa Subeck, program manager, family advocate and Hope House coordinator at Dane County Parent Council Head Start, said she feels the bill was written to dictate personal choices rather than to help prevent child abuse. She said the wording of the bill is "non-marital parenthood," which does not just encompass single parents, according to the Badger Herald.
The bill would also impact two parent families living together and same-sex couples that are not granted marital status, Subeck told the Badger Herald.
Subeck also told the Badger Herald that "Sen. Grothman is inserting government into what should be a very personal decision."