THE BLOG
02/16/2011 01:19 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Divorce Programs are the Rodney Dangerfield of Social Services

In an age where celebrity divorces stimulate public interest daily, I would like to pose a question to readers. Why don't divorce services 'get no respect?'

Divorce and separation affects 50% of all children in the United States before they reach the age of eighteen. This figure does not include the increasing number of children whose parents never marry or never live together, which significantly drives up that 50% figure. And it is a fact, the majority of fathers in the United States to not live in the homes where their children reside.

Parental separation inarguably raises risk factors for kids for other childhood difficulties. Here are representative, comparative percentages found in the public domain for childhood problems receiving the benefit of significant public interest and financial support:
Autism: 1 in 110 children (<1%)>

The challenges listed receive high profile attention and financial support because communities, healthcare providers and social service systems are willing to remediate them. Yet, the attention by charitable and government funding remediating the impact of divorce on America's children is minimal by comparison. In many communities, support for divorce education programs is virtually nonexistent.

This is not the case internationally. Australia and Canada have federal initiatives in place recognizing the importance of helping children when families split apart. Great Britain, even with its economic challenges, is making it a priority to assist children in crisis when parents separate.

Granted, some US court systems and legal foundations contribute to divorce education services in larger communities, but there is no correlation between the size of funding and the magnitude of the problem. Kids' Turn, San Francisco, just completed a grant proposal for a large California County Family Court system and the anticipated pool of participants was limited to the separating parents of children under the age of six. The number of potential program attendees was 1600!

We do not advocate putting children of divorce in front of cameras or fundraisers to make a case for financial support for divorce education services. But it seems like the culture and country that advocated no-fault divorce, mediation, and collaborative law to facilitate divorce could be more proactive in supporting remedies for the problems the process creates.

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