Governor launches first of three childhood-poverty forums

Reducing the number of children born to single mothers is the most effective way to combat childhood poverty.

That's according to Robert Rector, the Heritage Foundation fellow picked by Gov. Sam Brownback to keynote the first of his administration's three planned meetings on childhood poverty this week.

Rector, an outspoken and popular figure among social conservatives, said a dramatic increase in the number of children born to single mothers since the mid-1960s was “the principle reason that children are poor in your state.”

Between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of Kansas children living in households at or below the federal poverty level climbed from 12 percent to 18 percent. In 21 of the state’s 105 counties, more than 20 percent of children live in poverty. The percentage is 26.4 percent in Wyandotte County, which was the site of Monday’s meeting.

Pointing to large charts illuminated on a screen at the front of the room, Rector said births to single mothers in Kansas first exceeded 5 percent in the 1960s and climbed to nearly 38 percent in 2009.

He said it was no coincidence that the beginning of the increase began with President Lyndon Johnson's “War on Poverty” and the growth of what Rector called the “means-tested welfare system.”

“It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the means-tested welfare system (created) to support children in the United States is predominately a support system that compensates for the erosion of marriage,” Rector said.

Encouraging marriage, Rector said, would be the single most effective thing that Kansas policymakers could do to address the problem of childhood poverty.

“Being married drops the probability of poverty by 85 percent,” he said, speaking to about 250 people gathered at a downtown convention center in one of the poorest cities in the state.

In addition to increased childhood poverty, Rector said, the growing tendency of young women to have “serial relationships” resulting in multiple pregnancies by different men had increased the incidence of both childhood poverty and domestic abuse.

Strong reaction

Shortly after Rector finished his remarks, Kari Ann Rinker, Kansas coordinator for the National Organization for Women, left the meeting room in anger.

“I was offended in there,” Rinker said. “The things he said, the inferences he made about women and women’s worth were offensive. As I looked around the room, I saw many other people looking to each other in shock and amazement.”

Rinker said the steady increase in births to young, single women was a cause for concern. But she said making available low-cost birth control and improving the women's self-esteem and education would more effectively address the problem.

“The silver bullet is not wedded bliss,” she said.


→ Continue reading and listen to audio from the forum at khi.org/childhoodpoverty.

More information here on Wednesday and Thursday's forums, and the planned speakers.

Tagged: childhood poverty brownback kansas health marriage welfare

Comments

liberallibrarian 2 years, 8 months ago

Right. So, women are to blame not only for poverty but also for being abused by their partners. This is the biggest load of crap I've ever read. My favorite laugh out loud line was, "Encouraging marriage, Rector said, would be the single most effective thing that Kansas policymakers could do to address the problem of childhood poverty." What. a. joke.

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WELFAREQUEENLOL 2 years, 8 months ago

THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO REDUCE POVERTY IS PAY MINIMUM WAGE TO OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS-TALK ABOUT REDUCING THE FEDERAL AND STATE DEFICITS-TALK ABOUT NEW SOCIAL WELFARE POLICIES BEING PUT IN PLACE-WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WE THE VOTERS, WE THE WOMEN HAVE MORE POWER THAN WE THINK-JUST WAIT UNTIL THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS MEET THEIR MAKER-THEY WON'T BE MAKING SOCIAL WELFARE POLICIES ANYMORE... I PROMISE AND THEY WON'T BE LIVING IT UP OFF THE BACKS OF KANSANS; A, LARGE PERCENTAGE OF WHICH ARE WOMEN-SINGLE MOMS-MOMS AND CHILDREN LIVNG IN POVERTY-THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND THE SUFFERING-THEY WILL BE BURNING IN HELL BEGGING FOR A SECOND CHANCE OR FOOD STAMPS SO THEY CAN GO BUY THAT BOTTLE OF WATER LOL!

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headdoctor 2 years, 8 months ago

Not even. More like forced sterilization or marriage, and if your married no divorce. These pseudo-Christians make me sick. They don't want abortion and don't want to fund birth control or education or to take care of the kids after they are born.

I have a wonderful idea. How about fining males for their share of the babies they want to make and not take care of. I think the fine should be one testicle per violation. It wouldn't take long to fix the problem without forcing people to be married that don't belong or want to be together.

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Kim Murphree 2 years, 8 months ago

Told you...not spending money to alleviate the situation of single parents, or those who are born to married couples in poverty...I told you the single thing that this guy was after was to make everyone get married and keep them married. He really hates women, and hates the idea of single parents who discover they are not compatible but still want to be a part of their children's futures. This is all about social manipulation based on his theological idea of how people should live, now trying to tie state $$$ and the force of state policy up in that old rhetoric. Run for the hills people...We will be living in the dark ages again soon.

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liberallibrarian 2 years, 8 months ago

So true... so terrifying. I'm happily married, have children, and, although we live modestly, we are comfortably above the poverty line. That said, I find Bback's ideas frightening, insulting, and vile. Dark ages indeed.

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Kim Murphree 2 years, 8 months ago

I told you all that this would be the theme in my comments when the first LJWorld article appeared regarding Brownbacks upcoming forums on children in poverty...oh yeah, its all about putting women back in their places.

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dwendel 2 years, 8 months ago

The obvious solutions to the problem (as defined by the guv) are better birth control, better education, and legalized gay marriage. I'm sure that's where he's headed with all this.

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Lawrence_is_home 2 years, 8 months ago

I attended this meeting & took notes. The title of the presentation was "Marriage: Kansas' #1 weapon against childhood poverty". You would be wrong about his views on birth control. Quote from speech - "We have satuated these poulations with birht control" & "they plan to have children out of wedlock"

His 3 steps to reducing childhood poverty 1) provide education to young men & women about the benefits of marriage 2) Reduce anit-marriage penalties for means-tested welfar program 3) Promote life-goal-planning marriage strenghting & divorce reduction programs to increase healthy marriages & reduce divorce & seperation.

The bulk of his presentation was spent throwing out statistics about child poverty in various married vs. unmarried segments of the population and claiming that those having children out of wedlock had never been educated about the benefits of marriage.

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chootspa 2 years, 8 months ago

They haven't saturated anyone with birth control. They've done their best to remove access to it.

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Plurilingual 2 years, 8 months ago

Correlation does not imply causation.

The data that shows that being poor and being a single-parent household go hand in hand.

It could also be that being poor causes folks to decide not to get married, either because of their own finances or because of they saw what it did to their own parents.

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headdoctor 2 years, 8 months ago

Brownback is what he is. You can't change his nature anymore than you can a scorpion.There is no limit to what the NeoLiberal pseudo-Christians will try to get away with.

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Don Whiteley 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank God, a woman finally welling to stand up and speak the truth! It doesn't get guys off the hook. We need to hold fathers 100% accountable for the children they foster. However, nobody can produce thugs and druggies at fater rates than single mothers.

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WELFAREQUEENLOL 2 years, 8 months ago

CORRECTION-NOBODY PRODUCES THUGS AND DRUGGIES AT A FASTER RATE THAT POVERTY-THAN ENDING UP A SINGLE MOM-THAN SOMEONE WHO IS UNFORTUATE ENOUGH TO BEGIN DRUG USE BECAUSE THEY WERE ABUSED, DEPRESSED, MARRIED, DISABLED, LOST A CHILD OR FAMILY MEMBER-THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO BECOME AN ADDICT MY FRIEND-I WAS A SINGLE MOM AND BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD I WOULD BE A DRUG USER-I AM A SUCCESS STORY-CAREFUL...YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF IN THE SAME BOAT-IGNORANCE IS BLISS UNTIL YOUR WORLD FALLS PART, AND IT WILL I PROMISE....

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Katara 2 years, 8 months ago

So where are all the state sponsored and funded programs designed to educate men in how to keep it in their pants?

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WELFAREQUEENLOL 2 years, 8 months ago

GOD BLESS YOU KATARA-NOT SINCE THE BEGINNINGS OF THE WELFARE PROGRAM IN 1939 HAS ANYONE EVER FIGURED THAT OUT. I HAVE AN ANSWER FOR YOU THOUGH-IT IS MEN THAT RUN THIS COUNTRY-THAT HEAD THESE SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAMS-THAT SUPERVISES THE WOMEN UNDER NEATH THEM, SO THEY CAN KEEP THEIR MULTI THOUSAND AND YES SOMETIMES MILLION DOLLAR A YEAR JOBS. THIS IS A HISTORIAL PROBLEM-IF WOMEN WOULD UNITE AND FIGHT THE WAY THEY FOUGHT IN THE 70'S FOR THEIR RIGHTS INCLUDING THE HISTORIAL WELFARE RIGHTS MOVEMENT, REST ASSURED THESE OFFICIALS WOULD NOT HAVE THEIR JOBS.THESE OFFICIALS THAT SPEAK BEHIND THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE NEED TO GO TO CHURCH AS THE MAN-NOT THE WOMAN WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FAMILY-IT IS THE MAN WHO INITIATES THE "LIFE PROCESS" IE BIRTH OF CHILDREN-I HOPE YOUR PASSION REMAINS AND YOU ALWAYS APPLY YOUR TWO CENTS WORTH AND CONTINUE DEFENDING THE TRUTH ABOUT POVERTY IN THIS COUNTRY BY AND LARGE IT IS ABSENT FATHERS THAT OPEN THAT DOOR AND LEAVE CHILDREN DEFENSELESS-THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS..

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Wadde 2 years, 8 months ago

" if you dont have the money than dont have childern "

there's goes are economy families dont pull their weight in rebuilding the economy

lets shut down SRS in lawrence then...
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WELFAREQUEENLOL 2 years, 8 months ago

KANSAS BETTER WAKE UP- WITHOUT WOMEN THERE ARE NO MEN, WITHOUT MEN THERE ARE NO CHILDREN OR MAYBE WOMEN JUST CONCEIVE ALL ON THEIR OWN. WITHOUT SINGLE MOMS THERE ARE NO WELFARE SYSTEMS THUS NO JOBS FOR THESE LOUD MOUTH LOOSERS MAKING MULTI THOUSANDS-MILLIONS OF DOLLAR PAYCHECKS OFF THE TAXPAYERS INCLUDING THE WELFARE RECIPIENTS. WHERE WOULD ALL THESES POOR SONS OF HALLA BALLOO BE WITHOUT THE POOR...THINK THINK THINK-IT IS NOT THE POOR MAKING KANSANS OR AMERICANS FOR THAT MATTER STRUGGLE-IT IS THE POLITICIANS AND COOPERATE AMERICA- WHO WE PAY TO MAKE PROMISES THEY NEVER KEEP-NO BODY IS RICH WITHOUT TAKING THE PROFITS OFF THE BACKS OF THE POOR-HEARD OF MINIMUM WAGE, THINK HOW MANY JOBS WOULD BE GONE IF WE CLOSED THE SRS OFFICES WADDE OR WODDEE-PEOPLE LIKE YOU WILL END UP PUTTING YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH- ALL THOSE LOVELY SRS WORKERS WILL HAVE NO JOB! WAIT TO YOU ARE ELDERLY MY FRIEND OR WAIT UNTIL YOU BECOME DISABLED-2 THINGS ARE A DEFINITE IN THIS LIFE GROWING OLD OR BECOMING DISABLED-YOU WILL PRAY FOR THE DAY YOU WERE'NT SO IGNORATE, I PROMISE YOU WILL NEED SRS ONE DAY LIKE IT OR NOT.. MS BACHMAN A CHRISTIAN-HA HA HA THERE IS A SPECIAL HELL FOR PEOPLE LIKE HER THAT BLASPHEME THE POOR IN GOD'S NAME- WHEN WOMEN STAND UNITED THIS CRAP- THIS TALK WILL QUIT. WHEN MEN TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BRINGING LIFE INTO THIS WORLD THERE WILL BE LESS POVERTY-MARRIAGE IS THE GREAT AMERICAN JOKE-THERE IS NO GREATER FINANCIAL PENALTY THAN TO BECOME MARRIED IE TAXES, DOMESTIC ABUSE, HOMICIDE STATISTICS DIVORCE RATES ALL THOSE RATES GO UP FOSTER CARE COSTS COURT COSTS -ALL AT A COST TO YOU KANSAS-AMERICA- FOR INSTANCE-WELFARE AND STATE OFFICIALS WANT PEOPLE MARRIED NOT BECAUSE THEY GIVE A RATS BEHIND ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS THE DAY AFTER-BUT BECAUSE TWO INCOMES EFFECTIVELY CUT FAMILIES OFF WELFARE AND OR MINIMIZE TO THE ZERO EFFECT ANY ASSISTANCE THEY WOULD ECONOMICALLY BE ELIGIBLE FOR. AMERICA AND KANSAS IS NOTHING WITHOUT THE POOR-THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS RICH WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF THE POOR.

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