Opinion Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

Addressing Broken Homes Key to Successfully Raising a Society of Kids

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By Andre’ Rainey

One of the hardest challenges I’ve faced in my life was walking into Dutchess County Family Court. The mother of my middle daughter refused to allow me to see my daughter after our separation, so I sought legal assistance.

This had to be the most horrific experience I’ve ever faced. Though I currently have an equal custody, co-parenting agreement, the long-term effects this four-year fight will have on my daughter and all my children will be difficult to erase.

The truth is that as men, we are raised to be strong. We’re also taught that when someone hurts one of our family members, we have to let them know in whatever way possible that we won’t tolerate that, and they should fear doing it again. Even if it requires being humble at times and accepting the pain.

In New York, I believed a Family Court judge would observe parenting skills, a parent’s health, how the parents cooperate to make their best decision based on the best interests of the child. I was wrong. I believed that judges respected the law, held the law to the highest standards. In Dutchess County, I was wrong. I believed Family Court was to assist in resolving conflict, making the best interest of the child’s well-being the priority. In Dutchess County Family Court, I was wrong. A strong family is foundational to a strong America. Not in Dutchess County.

The National Parents Organization has done extensive work and has presented data-based facts on the benefits of shared parenting in New York and the ills of the impacts of our communities without it. New York has received an F. When we look at our society, the racial divide, the racial inequalities, the racism as a whole is detrimental to families, the community, society and the culture. Sixty-four percent of children in single-parent households are Black, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation; 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children (Research and Statistics), 63 percent of teen suicides and 85 percent of children and teens with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.

In 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long sentences were raised by single mothers. In 2021, 82 percent of inmates were raised in single-mother homes; 70 percent of runaways, 70 percent of juvenile delinquents and 70 percent of child murderers, come from single-parent homes. (Richard E. Redding)

Children without their father’s consistent involvement are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 20 times more likely to end up in prison and 32 times more likely to run away from home.

Global studies show that children who spend at least 35 percent of their time with each parent have better relationships with both their mother and father, do better in school, do better psychologically and socially and are less likely to smoke, take drugs and drink. Importantly, they are less likely to suffer from depression and other stress-related issues.

In states like Kentucky, which enacted a shared parenting bill in 2018, data shows that Family Court filings are down 11 percent and domestic violence claims have been reduced by 445 cases since the law’s inception.

Broken homes are leading to adolescent epidemics and it’s impacting the Black, brown and low-income communities the hardest. Statistics prove it, and now we need action from those we trust for them to keep our trust.

Andre’ Rainey is chair of the New York affiliate of the National Parents Organization, a former Peekskill mayor and a Forever Father.

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