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Thaddeus Baklinski

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Study: Australian children’s mental health deteriorating due to marriage breakdown

Thaddeus Baklinski

CANBERRA, September 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The psychological well-being of children and young people, especially young girls, in Australia has deteriorated significantly in the past 10 years, according to a report released today by Professor Patrick Parkinson of the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney.

The “For Kids’ Sake” report, commissioned by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), found that rising divorce rates, the breakdown of cohabiting relationships, and the increase in children born to single mothers is largely responsible for that deterioration.

The report emphasizes the negative impact of family breakdown “in particular to a rapidly worsening situation for vulnerable teenage girls.”

“In Australia, the number of children who do no reach the age of 15 in an intact family with both of their biological parents has almost doubled within a generation,” Prof. Parkinson states.

“While not all problems faced by Australia’s children today can, by any means, be attributed to the consequences of unstable and conflictual family relationships, the fragility of Australian families over recent generations has been a major contributing factor.”

The research highlighted the 250 percent rise in reports of child abuse and neglect, a doubling in the number of children in out-of-home care, a 66 percent increase in 12 to 14-year-olds being hospitalized as a result of self-inflicted harm, a 90 percent rise in the hospitalization of 15 to 17-year-old girls for self-harm, and a 52 percent increase in hospitalization of 15-24 year old females for acute alcohol intoxication.

The report concluded with a list of 14 recommendations focused on marriage preparation and family support.

‘‘Governments in Australia cannot continue to ignore the reality that two parents tend to provide better outcomes for children than one, and that the most stable, safe and nurturing environment for children is when their parents are, and remain, married to one another,’’ Prof. Parkinson said.

The ACL’s Katherine Spackman spoke to Professor Parkinson about the findings of the report and his recommendations. Listen to the interview here.

More information is available from the Australian Christian Lobby here.

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