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[Pew Research Center, The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families (2010), http://pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/11/pewsocial-trends-2010-families.pdf]
in domestic violence, crime, and teenage pregnancy rates. While home ownership, property values, and household wealth increase when healthy families lead the way.5 Strengthening just one family can lead to a multitude of positive outcomes on society. A healthy family can raise up Ă&#x201E;UL Z[\KLU[Z NVVK LTWSV`LLZ HUK loving neighbors who seek the wellbeing of their own communities.
The State of Families in Lake County One of the more challenging trends in Northwest Indiana is the declining health and well-being of the family. When the family loses its importance, society struggles. By choice or by circumstance, family cohesion has too often been hijacked in Lake County; and families face tough challenges in$# } <PaaXPVT 5P\X[h
cluding father absence, family disconnection, and family stress.6 Father Absence Fully 45 percent of all births in Lake County are to unmarried mothers.7 In the African American community, upwards of 80 percent of all births are to single mothers.8 Although a portion of these births are to mothers who have a live-in, unmarried partner, the numbers are nonetheless staggering. There are an estimated 695 births to teenagers in Lake County every year, which represents nine percent of all births.9 The majority of these children grow up having no relationship with their fathers. Family Disconnection Families can become emotionally detached even when both parents are
present. Technology, mindless entertainment, and the endless pursuit of economic status create emotional barriers for families.10 Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller mentions that many of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s youth enlist with gangs in VYKLY [V Ă&#x201E;UK H ZLUZL VM MHTPSPHS HJJLWtance that they simply lack at home.11 Experiencing life and sharing stories during family meal times has largely been supplanted by our individualism. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our culture promotes individuality,â&#x20AC;? says Jeff Temple of the Biblical Counseling Center, â&#x20AC;&#x153;which causes friction manifested in many forms.â&#x20AC;?12 6\Y OLJ[PJ WHJL VM SPML HUK JVUĂ&#x2026;PJ[PUN schedules squeeze out time for important connection among family members. Families used to bond regularly around the dinner table; but unfortunately in our culture