A compelling must-read letter to the editor appeared in the region's major newspaper this week from an individual that is a retired child welfare worker, someone that is an ideal position to note some of the societal ills which plague us.
The writer stated that the common thread in myriad horrific abuse cases that were witnessed is teen pregnancy, individuals who have and raise children without knowledge of how to nurture a child and without the resources to do so. The writer tells of the millions upon millions of dollars in welfare grants that are utilized to provide for such families and makes a connection to the value of easy availability of contraception to prevent it.
Regardless of how one feels about making contraceptives available to young students, most should be able to agree that out of wedlock births by teenagers are a societal ill and growing threat to our viability as a people.
We know of programs called "Scared Straight," in which young vulnerable students are shown the horrors endured by career criminals in jail. Why are there not similar programs to demonstrate to young people the misery of a life of poverty and squalor for which the road is paved when they began to have families without the ability to care for them?
How refreshing it would be if there were a large bipartisan coalition of leaders at the local, state, and federal levels who preached the mantra of "Stay in school, get a job, work hard, and delay marriage and having children until you are ready in every respect." How exhilerating it would be if a president used the powerful "bully pulpit" to regularly preach personal responsibility rather than bringing children into the world that the parents are unable to afford, if the president told impressionable listeners that it is not patriotic to have a family before one can care for it.
Would anyone cry that it is "too much government" if our leaders stepped in to head off what truly is too much government, providing costly cradle to grave care for those who believe that they have the right to present their hard-working neighbors with the bill for their poor choices, which have lifelong consequences for all involved? Prevention should be the order of the day rather than reacting when it is too late. It is unfair to those who pay the ever-increasing tariff to welcome additional millions to the welfare rolls, and it is unfair to the children who did not ask to be born into families in poverty and dysfunction.