Where do these people come from? The violent lifestyles, the strange appearances,.... I don't think these are country kids raised on farms in Cherokee or East Franklin or Iuka.
Unfortunately, in today's world, such youths do come from our rural communities. Apathy and violence aren't relegated to urban settings. Why? Just why are our priorities so skewed?
Once upon a time a man left his wife for another woman, whom he later married. Still at home was the couple's youngest child, a daughter. When "Stella" graduated from high school, the father and step-mother said nothing. When Stella graduated from college, still no response from the father. When Stella found her first real job, again no word from the father. When Stella found herself pregnant without a husband? Her father and stepmother told her how proud they were of her.
Our friend Mark Davis has contributed two pertinent sets of statistics that go into detail on the origins of many such lost youths. You may say it's irrelevant since it's not true of all lost boys/girls. Perhaps not, but it's true of enough that no thinking person can deny the link:
Children from one Parent homes account for:
1. 85% to 90% of contested Alabama Child custody cases physical custody of the Child goes to one Parent, typically the Mother. (Bureau of the U.S. Census; Taken in to Custody, at page 35, by Stephen Baskerville, PhD., March 2007.
2. 63% of youth suicides. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
3. 71% of pregnant teenagers. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services).
4. 90% of all homeless and runaway Children. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services).
5. 85% of all Children that exhibit behavioral disorders. (Source: Center for Disease Control).
6. 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger. (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26).
7. 71% of all high school dropouts. (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools).
8. 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers. (Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children).
9. 85% of all youths sitting in prisons. (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections).
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES (DHR) FACTS
- Alabama currently has the 4th highest divorce rate in the country.
- Only about 50 percent of our Children will spend their entire Childhood in an intact family.
- In 2000, 29 percent of Alabama’s families with minor Children were headed by a single Parent compared to the national average of 27 percent.
- Divorce and non-marital childbearing have become commonplace and have dramatically altered Children’s lives.
- Nationally, 40 percent of Children whose fathers live outside the home have no contact with them. (Does not include data regarding number of Fathers alienated by the Mother.)
- The other 60 percent had contact an average of 69 days during the year. (This figure supports current Alabama legal practice for standardized visitation orders issued by Alabama judges for less than 80 days per year.)
- Children from father-absent homes are five times more likely to live in poverty, three times more likely to fail in school, two to three times more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems, and three times more likely to commit suicide.