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Thread: Study Finds More Disabled Kids Live With Single Women

  1. #1
    Senior Member roshni's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Old Bridge, New Jersey, USA

    Study Finds More Disabled Kids Live With Single Women

    Children with disabilities are more likely to live with a single woman — whether she is a mother, grandmother or a female foster parent — than other children, according to a new study.
    The findings by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicate that organizations aimed at helping disabled children must also consider the particular problems faced by the single women who often care for them, said Philip Cohen, an associate professor of sociology at the university.

    "In the patchwork of arrangements to care for children with disabilities, we have to realize that the system is also dealing with issues of gender equity," Cohen said.

    The study, conducted by Cohen and his former student Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, now a doctoral student at the University of California, Irvine, was published Friday in the quarterly Journal of Marriage and Family.
    The study examined 2000 Census data on 2.3 million children ages 5 to 15. More than 130,000 were reported to have mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or both.

    It found that while 62 percent of children without disabilities live with a married, biological parent in a two-parent home, only 46 percent of disabled children do.

    Single mothers care for 17 percent of children without disabilities, but for 24.5 percent of those who are disabled. Fewer than 5 percent of disabled children live with a single father, about the same percentage of non-disabled children living with fathers.

    In homes where no biological parent is present, Cohen said disabled children were more than twice as likely to be cared for by a single woman than were children without a disability.

    The findings are not particularly surprising, but offer a different perspective the challenges faced by single, female caregivers, said Avis Jones-DeWeever, director of poverty, education, and social justice programs at the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, D.C.


  2. #2
    Does this mean the father cuts and runs when the baby comes out disabled?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Type Français
    Does this mean the father cuts and runs when the baby comes out disabled?
    I think that's part of it, but not the whole story. I think one telling thing that comes out of this study is exactly what we already knew-- disability takes a toll on marriages, and even more importantly the disproportionate care giving burden that is placed on women. I don't know if the divorce rate is higher among couples with a disabled children (I suspect it is), but it's clear that these kids with disabilities have much less of a father presence in their lives (17% v. 24.5%)-- less joint and shared custody arrangemnts, let alone single fathers raising kids. It's sad.

    But Todd, to get back to your original question-- in my life dad didn't cut and run. Mom grabbed me and ran, recognizing that she couldn't care for a signifcantly disabled child and his dead weight.

    Reading this study makes me really appreciate my mom
    Disclaimer: I use voice dictation software, due to chronic tendinitis. Any gibberish-type errors in this post are due to the software's stupidity, not my own. Protect your arms and hands from overuse, people!

  4. #4
    Nice thoughts, NJenn. Thank you.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Type Français
    Does this mean the father cuts and runs when the baby comes out disabled?
    Yes, for the most part. Looking back, it seems that mothers were more likely than fathers to visit their dsabled children in the hospital. There was also a high rate of abandonment of disabled kids, esp. those disabled from birth. Most went straight into foster care from the hospital. Disabled kids are also more likely to be physically abused.

    It goes against the impression that most people have of disabled kids which is that they're all coddled, favored over other siblings and given their way. The opposite is true.

  6. #6
    I think the missing bit in your discussion is that the most frequent preventable birth defect is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder characterized by mental disability, attention deficit, sometimes hearing problems and cleft palate. Mothers who do a great deal of drinking in their pregnancy often are young, not married and the guy does not stick around to raise any child. Sometimes these kids are born to women in the sex trade. The children who are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (addicted to drugs or alcohol) are apprehended at birth and put into foster care. Those kids with ADHD and mental handicap often have a parent with ADHD and mental handicap and that is why they are more likely to be abused, until they get apprehended. Kids cannot be apprehended without just cause, and unfortunately, that means a child has to be abused before they are apprehended (unless the birth family is clearly unsafe). Also there are many single mothers who go on to be foster parents and a high percentage of foster kids are disabled for the reasons i described above.

    There is nothing in the study that I read poster here that can be extrapolated to kids with only physical disabilites from typical families.
    Last edited by diane2; 11-20-2006 at 11:44 AM.

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