Provo Conference Urges UN to Put Families at Forefront of Development

Academics and experts from around the world warned UN delegates this week about the dangers of ignoring the family in governmental policies and programs while trying to achieve development. The delegates were attending the World Family Policy Forum hosted by Brigham Young University and the World Family Policy Center. Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre [CUA] presented a paper saying that “healthy families are essential for a country as they have a direct impact on human, moral and social capital, and therefore, on resource use, economic activity and economic structures.” Aguirre’s research underscored both the economic and social consequences of family breakdown. Abuse of women is 25 times more likely to occur in an irregular family. Men who have witnessed domestic violence are 3 times more likely to abuse their own wives and children. Women and children living in broken families have a higher probability of living in poverty. The breakdown of the family thus costs governments by increasing social welfares expenditures. Aquirre studied the relationship of wealth and family structure in Canada, Guatemala, and the United States – three countries with very different government systems – and found that across the board, families with parents in stable marriages did much better economically than any other domestic arrangement in terms of net wealth, savings, and property ownership. Other presenters at the conference highlighted various societal implications of family breakdown such as the impact of divorce, the family in conflict situations, the lack of paternal involvement and its negative effect on children and the demographic consequences of fewer marriages and plummeting fertility. In an address by satellite from Doha, Qatar, Professor Richard...