Feb. 16, 2007
A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) paints an unflattering picture of the United States and the United Kingdom. In "An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries," UNICEF claims that the two nations rank dead last in providing for young people's welfare. Citing the lack of government-sponsored day care and "economic inequality," a spokesman for UNICEF said, "They don't invest as much in children as continental European countries do." The U.S. should take some exception to this comment as money is not the only accurate measure of a child's well-being. Unlike most Europeans, Americans don't rely on a socialist system to provide for their families' needs. In this study, only government funds were measured. The money provided from other sources was ignored. Assessing factors such as health, safety, family relationships, risk behaviors, and education, the study did cite the overwhelming number of single parents in the U.S. as cause for concern. Coupled with the alarming rates of teen promiscuity and substance abuse, the breakdown of the family must be addressed. Having said that, the government is not most Americans' first choice when it comes to creating wealth, raising children, or making decisions about their health. As we've seen from the recent HPV vaccine mandates, Americans are not ready to let the government decide every issue for our children. If that's the benchmark for high grades from UNICEF, then the U.S. is far better off than this study suggests.