Kirsten Andersen

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CDC study: Traditional, two-parent biological family the safest environment for children

Kirsten Andersen
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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new study just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that children living in traditional, two-parent biological families are overwhelmingly safer than children living with just one biological parent or with non-parental caregivers.

The study, which tracked data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, found that 70 percent of children raised by both biological parents had been completely free from traumas, which the researchers called “adverse childhood events.”

The traumas the researchers focused on were divorce or separation, death of a parent, incarceration of a parent, mental illness in the home, substance abuse in the home, domestic violence, child abuse, neighborhood violence, racial discrimination and poverty.

While 70 percent of children living with both biological parents had never experienced even one of those adverse events, 78.3 percent of those living with just one biological parent had experienced at least one of them, as had 81.2 percent of those living without either biological parent.

Nearly 30 percent of minors living with non-parental guardians had experienced four or more serious “adverse events.”

“There are several reasons why a focus on adverse experiences among children in non-parental care is warranted,” the researchers wrote. “The extensive literature documenting that children of single parents have poorer well-being than children living with both of their parents suggests that children living without at least one parent present may be further disadvantaged.

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“In addition, caregiving transitions are problematic for children’s well-being and most children living apart from their parents have already experienced at least one change in caregiver,” the researchers added. “The cumulative effect of multiple traumas can be serious; research has shown that the more adverse events experienced, the higher the risk of serious health conditions or negative health outcomes…[T]hese children are particularly vulnerable to poor well-being.”

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The researchers speculated that children who become separated from one or both biological parents are at increased risk of poor adult health, illegal drug use, and suicide.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, which tracks the effects of marital stability on U.S. society, said the CDC’s data matches up with his own.

"Children are most likely to thrive, and least likely to face adversity, when they are raised in a married home by their biological parents,” Wilcox told LifeSiteNews. “This new study from the CDC is consistent with the general findings in the research on child well-being.”

“When it comes to family structure, the safest and most secure place – on average – is an intact, two-parent family,” Wilcox added.

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