Child and family development forum and responses

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Forum 3: Governmental Influence

A growing debate among Child and Family Development professionals today is how much influence the federal government should have over how American families are defined and how much autonomy these families should have in raising their children.  For this Forum, articulate and justify your opinion in this debate.  Be sure to use examples to clarify your position.

Remember, you MUST articulate and justify an opinion – you cannot say something like “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.”

The purpose of this assignment is to make you aware of the larger governmental influences affecting the child and family development professions.

400 Level Forum Grading Rubric

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Possible points

Student points

Met initial post deadline (Wednesday)



Initial post is substantive



Initial post is at least 400 words



Initial post employs at least two citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source






First response to classmate posted by Sunday



First response is at least 200 words



First response employs at least 2 citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source






Second response to classmate posted by Sunday



Second response is at least 150 words



Second response employs at least 2 citations; one can be text; other must be from an academic source












Response 1:

 Government Influence



Hello everyone,

    This forum reminds me of the growing debate of politics that my husband’s family love to have. Actually, my mother-in-law sometimes prohibits them from talking about politics so that things do not get too “heated”. My father-in-law and I recently began debating about high-quality early childhood education. I believe that every child has the right to high-quality early childhood education, whereas, he does not. I find that the government can offer benefits to children and families through appropriate family policies, including high-quality early childhood education. However, I see the pitfalls and worry of a large government that could be considered intrusive to a families way of life. Recently, we have seen changes to legislation that are affecting families. One major change is the acceptance of same-sex marriages. This allows same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples to marry. This legislation can influence tax benefits and even adoption processes. California and New Jersey have been expanded family policies in these states to include domestic partners (Arellano 2015). Other family issues that the government could add aid to include health care, taxes, government programs, work-family relationships, and even reproductive health. According to Kamerman (2011) the US’s family policies are far behind other industrialized countries. The US does not have policies for paid parental or family leave (including paternity and maternity leave), cash benefits, healthcare, and early childhood care and education (Kamerman 2011). Although, FMLA does offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave with certain requirements many families are unable to afford to take unpaid time off for childbirth, sick children, and even caring for elderly parents (Kamerman 2011).

    I feel that the US government could provide benefits to families through a more universal and comprehensive group of family and social policies (Kamerman 2011). However, how much is too much involvement? If the government is providing programs and benefits that allow parents guidance, balance, and support then we should see positive impacts in families and children. The benefit to more government family policies could include better work-family balance, high-quality care for children, financial support and time to bond with newborns or new adopted child. I find that the way that the government looks at family policies would be the foundation for how beneficial or intrusive government policies could be. I hope that the government looks at family policies in a way to understand, strengthen, and support American children and families. I believe that more family policies could further encourage education, health, and family life in America.


Arellano, J. (5/2015). Don’t Leave United States Behind Problems with Exisitng Family
     and Medical Leave Act, and Alternatives to Help Enhance the Employee Work-Family Relationships in the 21st Century.      Journal of Workplace Rights (1-13). doi: 10.1177/2158244015581553

Kamerman, S. B., & Kahn, A. J. (2001). Child and Family Policies in the United States at the Opening of the Twenty-first           Century. Social Policy & Administration, 35(1),



Response 2:

New! Week 3 Government Influence



The American family is defined differently by the individuals in the family; it has nothing to do with blood. For me, it happens to be the four people who live in my household and any other I choose to be a part of my children’s and mine and my husband’s life. Times have changed tremendously, there are more divorced families, gay or lesbian parents raising children as well as blended and bi-racial families. I don’t think the federal government defines American families in that context. However, I do think when it comes to Federal assistance, the government does play a huge role in influencing what they consider to be a family. Federal programs such as childcare assistance, cash assistance, food assistance and even college loan assistance are all programs where the size of the family is a factor as to what you can or cannot get. For example, families who receive free or reduced childcare are mostly single income families. What I see, are families who would need the childcare help and to not upset the system, they continue to live or barely live on one income. Is this not controlling in some way? I think that is why some families who consist of unmarried parents, continue to do so, to get or keep the benefits they have including the bigger income tax check at the end of the year. Families do have control over how they raise their children. The Constitution limits the governments intervening into the private lives of families (Sweet 1991), however with the programs offered stemming from the government it can seem like they do have some control over how a family is defined. As raising children should be independently up to the parents, there are so many choices we as parents make that do make us reflect back to the government such as the programs we may apply for or the assistance we plan to receive. I read an article that described children as once being the light in a parent’s eyes and nowadays there are dollar signs and benefits attached to them and basically having a value like a public good to be bought, sold or traded upon (Folbre 1994). 


Folbre, N. (1994). Children as public goods. The American Economic Review84(2), 86-90.

Sweet, R. W. (1991). Strengthening Our Families, Fortifying Our Nation. Juvenile and Family Court Journal42(3), 1-11.



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