Putting Children’s Needs First …

With a 7-4-2 vote in the House Judiciary Committee, proposed legislation that would give priority to placing a child in a two-parent, man/woman household will next be considered by the full House.  While testifying in support of HB 343: Foster Placement and Adoption Amendments before the committee, William C. Duncan, adjunct fellow with Sutherland, said there are three values that every state’s law employs deciding appropriate placements for children placed by adoption or foster care: permanence, stability, and child well being. “Marriage ideally promotes each of these important values,” said Duncan.


A recent series of reports marshals voluminous evidence that clearly shows children raised by a married mother and father:

  • are more likely to succeed in education
  • have a decreased risk for mental illness
  • are less likely to experience poverty
  • exhibit less behavioral problems
  • experience higher levels of family stability
  • are more likely to benefit from high levels of parental commitment and closeness
  • have a decreased risk of physical illness
  • are less likely to engage in sexual relations as teenagers and to experience an unwed pregnancy
  • experience decreased risk of suicide
  • will not be as likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults
  • have a greater average life expectancy
  • are less likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse


Duncan concluded, “Given all that we know about the unique benefits of marriage for children, we believe this legislation reflects a commonsense recognition that, for most children, the ideal setting for thriving is in a home with a married mother and father.”