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since June 19, 2001


Virginia Senate Joint Resolution No. 113: to establish marriage strengthening commission

from: Smart Marriages


Offered January 9, 2002
Prefiled January 9, 2002

Establishing the Commonwealth Marriage and Parenting Skills Commission to promote marriage education in the schools, responsible fatherhood, and related family-strengthening measures.

Patron-- Hanger
Referred to Committee on Rules

WHEREAS, the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), which introduced welfare reform, encourages parents who are receiving TANF and other public assistance to leave the welfare rolls and move to self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, requiring absent fathers to be economically responsible for their children is the only form of father involvement mandated by this law, but the general purposes of TANF include the formation and stabilization of two-parent families; and

WHEREAS, role models are essential for the positive emotional, physical and social development of a child, but many parents lack the interpersonal skills to communicate and many, particularly fathers, fail to participate mainly because of a lack of economic stability; and

WHEREAS, evidence shows that such positive interaction with the child is beneficial to the parent as well; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that 80 percent of child poverty occurs among children outside a two-parent household; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That a Commonwealth Marriage and Parenting Skills Commission be established to promote marriage education in the schools, responsible fatherhood, and related family-strengthening measures. The Commission shall be composed of thirteen members, which shall include eight legislative members and five nonlegislative and ex officio members as follows: five members of the House of Delegates, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House, in accordance with the principles of proportional representation contained in the Rules of the House of Delegates; and three members of the Senate, to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections; two nonlegislative members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; one nonlegislative member to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections; and, the Commissioner of Social Services and the Secretary of Education, or his/her designee, to serve ex officio with full voting privileges.

In conducting its study, the Commission shall

  1. assess best practices and resources in the Commonwealth and throughout the country designed to empower TANF recipients with enhanced marriage and parenting communications skills and support for strong families, and recommend potential sources of funding to expand such activities in Virginia;

  2. assess marriage curricula and communications skills curricula for high school students, pertinent provisions of the Family Life Education program and social services programs, and provide recommendations for marriage curricula enhancement and related marriage skills community programs;

  3. examine policy barriers in state law that impede or create disincentives to two-parent family formation and child support, and assess and make other recommendations concerning models that have been implemented by other states such as child support pass-through and bonus incentives for marriage and family strengthening; and

  4. identify incarcerated parent programs that would become laboratories for community, volunteer, charitable, and faith-based organizations to transform non-custodial parent prisoner's lives and prevent their return to crime and prison while enhancing family relationships and child well-being.

The direct costs of this study shall not exceed $11,500.

The Division of Legislative Services shall provide staff support for the study. Technical assistance shall be provided by the Departments of Social Services and Education. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Commission, upon request.

The Commission shall complete its work by November 30, 2002 and submit its written findings and recommendations to the Governor and the 2003 Session of the General Assembly as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents.

Implementation of this resolution is subject to subsequent approval and certification by the Joint Rules Committee. The Committee may withhold expenditures or delay the period for the conduct of the study.


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Diane Sollee, Director
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www.smartmarriages.com 202-362-3332

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Posted 2002 01 17
2003 05 02 (added reference to Family Law — Table of Contents
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)