Budget cut could hurt Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative

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  • Stephen Nielson Highland, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    $700K a year on a marriage program seems mind boggling until you understand where taxpayer dollars go to rectify the problems that occur when marriage relationships are unhealthy or terminate.

    Division of child and family services spends a lot of money handling the mental, physical, and emotional challenges that occur with troubled marriages. Children are more at risk for mental and emotional problems when their parents divorce in addition to the damage that occurs during the years of conflict leading up to the divorce. You can include foster care services, court proceedings, civil investigations etc. -- All footed by the taxpayer.

    Don't forget about all of the taxpayer dollars going to handle the actual processing of a divorce. Between estate breakup, alimony, legal proceedings, and verifying those legal proceedings are followed. The dollars add up.

    Now forecast the risk factors of these kids into the future and you find increased criminal activity, school misbehavior and apathy, mental health issues, amongst many others. More costs.

    We can attempt to solve these problems by investing our money into more prisons, police force, mental health professionals, etc, or we can try to solve the problem by promoting healthier, more stable marriages.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    I am sure this is a wonderful program, and that participants benefit greatly. But I doubt if there is any evidence it produces $700,000 in benefits to taxpayer every year.

    But, why the heck should taxpayers be spending $700,000 a year on a marriage program at all? It does not matter if it is federal money (that grows on trees and we have too much of) or dollars confiscated from hard working Utah families.

    Why does the state need a fund program similar to what USU already offers, what many churches offer their members, or are open to members of all denominations?

    The key point of the story is:
    ""We were faced with a situation where we don't have enough ... funds to necessarily run all the things we'd like to,"

    Now, if we can just convince 536 people in Washington, DC of the absolute truth of that statement, we will all be better off!

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Healthy Marriage Initiative?--Who thinks up these programs?