Two Final Thoughts On The Family Council’s Argument

You want studies? Oh, Cox has studies! --AP Photo (from Lottery Hearings)

1. If we believe the (flawed, inapplicable) Alabama Policy Institute study cited by David Cox, it seems clear that children in single-parent households do markedly worse by API’s measures than do children in home with cohabitating couples.  That being the case, if Cox et al. are really concerned with the best interests of the children — if Family Council’s purpose for opposing cohabitating couples is really due to how inferior such couples are to traditional families — why isn’t Family Council pushing for a ban on adoption/fostering by single-parent-households as well?

2. If the poorer outcomes that the API study suggests are caused by the lower socioeconomic status of average cohabitating couples are such an issue, why is Family Council not pushing for a ban on lower-income married couples’ adopting or fostering of Arkansas children?



  1. Matt,

    I don’t know how much this will contribute to the adoption/foster parent debate in Arkansas, but I thought I’d write to provide a bit of perspective on the inclusion of the policy paper by the Alabama Policy Institute’s 2005 paper on family structure and child outcomes.

    First, as someone who has worked at API since 1995, I can say with certainty that we aren’t trying to spin our family research into saying something that isn’t there. API (and organizations like yours, as well) lives and dies by its objectivity and credibility. Both of our groups have our lenses with which we look at the world and say, “How can we make this better?” Yes, API tries to see the world through a free-market, Judeo-Christian lens. We don’t care which political parties agree with us; we’ll work with anyone to advance these agendas.

    Second, we try very hard not to cherry pick our data. Rather, whenever possible, we use government sources, like the Census Bureau, the EPA, the FBI, and so forth. If our results are mixed, we’ll tell you. A good example of this is a paper we did in 2006 on the relationship between pre-martial cohabitation length and marital satisfaction. What we found didn’t rock the world; we did discover, though, a bunch of little negative effects of previous cohabitation that, if added in a marriage, could make it less satisfying.

    Finally, the study you quote was not done in-house. Rather, we received a grant (from whom, I don’t know; I’m just a policy guy, and not a fund raiser) to have this review of the literature written by Dr. Barbara Schneider and her associates at the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children, and Work at the University of Chicago. Dr. Schneider’s credentials—not her political orientations—were the reason we asked her to help us. Following is a link to her 17-page CV:

    API tries very hard to be as credible and objective as possible. Even though we may disagree on a variety of issues, I would hope that your organization does not gloss over our work because of our affiliations.


    John Hill, Ph.D.
    Senior Fellow
    Alabama Policy Institute

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