According to this article , single parents in Wisconsin may be marked as more likely to abuse their children that married parents. This idea is promoted by bill number SB 507 within the state legislature system. This bill seems to unfairly target single parents who may already be struggling to pay the bills and raise children with another stigma which not all deserve. Abuse happens in a variety of socio-economic households including both married and single parents. Addressing the issues which lead to abuse and correcting them and being alert to the possibility of abuse is an excellent use of resources, however unfairly labeling an entire group of people as potential abusers is unfair.
Horrific stories of abuse emerge from families of all types and do not include only parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins and step-parents and sadly enough even parents have been found guilty of this crime, however there are also many parents and families who do not do so.
Alcohol and drug abuse are two of the biggest contributors to child abuse and may be accelerated by financial concerns. These problems need to be addressed more than whether a parent is single. They may well be single to escape an abusive spouse or the drugs and alcohol, thus actually improving the children’s lives. How often have we seen where child protective agencies have overlooked critical situations which have resulted in death or near death situations for children and a parent.
Bringing attention to the plight of the abused and helping them find ways to escape and find help by putting the funding which this bill will likely entail would be a better use of time and energy. Halfway homes for children and parents who need to escape immediately to a safe place would be a better investment than hiring more workers to watch over single parent households. Educating children in school about where to go for help and encouraging family and neighbors to contact someone to help when they see something wrong rather than assuming all single parents are abusive is a better alternative.
Protecting the children is a just and noble cause, finding a method which actually does so is likely more difficult. Addressing the problems and helping parents learn coping methods while giving the children a safe place to live is the ultimate solution.