It was one year ago today that the Kentucky Legislature passed, by an overwhelming margin, the nation’s first equal parenting bill. Governor Matt Bevin wasted no time in signing it into law. Now Gov. Bevin has taken shared parenting one step further. He’s named April 26th Shared Parenting Day. From here on out, we’ll commemorate the importance of equal parenting on April 26th.
Making sure that children don’t lose one parent when the adults divorce is perhaps the single most important social cause in this country and others. Keeping kids in meaningful relationships with both parents will tend strongly to ameliorate a host of problems our society grapples with. For example, single parent families produce
63% of teen suicides;
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
71% of high school drop-outs;
75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
85% of those in prison;
85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
90% of homeless and runaway children.Now, Kentucky shows the way for other states to establish a presumption of equal parenting and in so doing strikes a blow at each of those social deficits and more. The National Parents Organization is justly proud that our Kentucky affiliate guided this equal parenting legislation through to final passage.
And guess what else. In the year since its enactment, there’s no evidence that any of the apocalyptic claims of anti-shared parenting forces has come true in Kentucky. Those folks routinely claim that children will be ill-served by equal parenting, that parental conflict will be exacerbated, that parents don’t really want equal time with their kids and the like. But has an earthquake struck Kentucky? Are its children of divorce in some sort of danger? If they are, no one’s seen fit to mention it.
Indeed, polls in various states show that support for shared parenting is preferred by huge majorities of residents. Now, a national poll finds the same thing. And that support cuts across all demographic lines of sex, race, ethnicity and political persuasion.
Shared parenting is the right policy. It helps kids and parents alike. It mitigates a range of social ills. It saves taxpayers money because the more shared parenting we have, the lower the rate of those various ills. It’s preferred by the vast majority of voters.
So it’s a fine thing that Governor Bevin has decided to highlight Kentucky’s milestone achievement. They should shout it from the highest mountain top so that all can hear.
Slowly but surely, others are listening.