December 18, 2007 - Issue: Vol. 153, No. 194 — Daily Edition110th Congress (2007 - 2008) - 1st Session
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 59--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS THAT JOINT CUSTODY LAWS FOR FIT PARENTS SHOULD BE PASSED BY EACH STATE, SO THAT MORE CHILDREN ARE RAISED WITH THE BENEFITS OF...; Congressional Record Vol. 153, No. 194
(Senate - December 18, 2007)
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[Page S15925] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 59--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS THAT JOINT CUSTODY LAWS FOR FIT PARENTS SHOULD BE PASSED BY EACH STATE, SO THAT MORE CHILDREN ARE RAISED WITH THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A FATHER AND A MOTHER IN THEIR LIVES Mr. AKAKA submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: S. Con. Res. 59 Whereas, in approximately 84 percent of the cases where a parent is absent, that parent is the father; Whereas, if current trends continue, half of all children born today will live apart from one of their parents, usually their father, at some point before they turn 18 years old; Whereas when families (whether intact or with a parent absent) are living in poverty, a significant factor is often the father's lack of job skills; Whereas committed and responsible fathering during infancy and early childhood contributes to the development of emotional security, curiosity, and math and verbal skills; Whereas an estimated 19,400,000 children (27 percent) live apart from their biological fathers; Whereas 40 percent of the children under age 18 not living with their biological fathers had not seen their fathers even once in the past 12 months, according to national survey data; Whereas single parents are to be commended for the tremendous job that they do with their children; Whereas the United States needs to encourage responsible parenting by both fathers and mothers, whenever possible; Whereas the United States needs to encourage both parents, as well as extended families, to be actively involved in children's lives; Whereas a way to encourage active involvement is to encourage joint custody and shared parenting; Whereas the American Bar Association found in 1997 that 19 States plus the District of Columbia had some form of presumption for joint custody, either legal, physical, or both, and by 2006, 13 additional States had added some form of presumption, bringing the current total to 32 States plus the District of Columbia; Whereas data from the Census Bureau shows a correlation between joint custody and shared parenting and a higher rate of payment of child support; Whereas social science literature shows that a higher proportion of children from intact families with 2 parents in the home are well adjusted, and research also shows that for children of divorced, separated, and never married parents, joint custody is strongly associated with positive outcomes for children on important measures of adjustment and well being; and Whereas research by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that the States with the highest amount of joint custody subsequently had the lowest divorce rate: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that joint custody laws for fit parents should be passed by each State, so that more children are raised with the benefits of having a father and a mother in their lives. Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I rise today to submit legislation expressing the sense of the Congress that States should enact joint custody laws for fit parents, so that more children are raised with the benefit of having both parents in their lives. One of the most significant problems facing our Nation today is the number of children being raised without the love and support of both parents. Even if it is not possible for the parents to remain in a committed partnership, it is important that, when possible, each parent, as well as their extended families, have every opportunity to play an active role in their children's life. A number of recent studies have suggested that children greatly benefit from joint custody or shared parenting arrangements. In my own home State of Hawaii, it is a way of life to have our keiki, or children, raised and nurtured by the extended family, and we have seen how our children flourish when the responsibility of child rearing is shared. This Nation's children are our most vital resource, and every effort should be made to ensure that they receive the guidance and encouragement they need to thrive. I urge States to pass joint custody laws for fit parents so all children can be raised within the extended embrace of both parents and their families. ____________________