Our view: Conversation about family should continue

Published 11:50 am Friday, February 3, 2017

Clark County educators, looking for support in addressing one problem, may have helped shine a spotlight on another.

Fayette County extension agent Dianna Doggett recently spoke with local high school counsellors to talk about the challenges Kentucky has when it comes to “kinship care.”

The state has the highest rate in the entire country of children being raised by relatives who aren’t their parents.

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This is certainly something that must be addressed and creates its own set of challenges.

Another important insight to come from the conversation were statistics that show single-parent households continue to rise.

Here in Clark County, 31 percent of elementary students live in a single-parent home. That number jumps to 33 percent for middle school students. Astoundingly, nearly 60 percent of high school students here live in single-parent homes.

That means regardless of age, approximately one in every three children lives in a household with only one parental unit.

Do children who grow up in single-parent households have the same opportunities to be successful in life as those who don’t? Of course. Are there unique challenges that families in this situation face? Absolutely.

Now is the time for Clark County and the agencies that serve families to really take a look at something that has become an epidemic.

First, we must work to determine what are the driving factors that create these situations? Are there things that can be done to prevent it?

Second, what resources do single parents need? What tools are out there that can help single parents overcome challenges they face?

We certainly feel grandparents and other relatives need support, but we hope this can be the start of a larger conversation.

Clark County’s families deserve it. Clark County’s future depends on it.