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.

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