October 12, 2013

Another View: Prospective parents in Maine should be required to pass a test

They would have to demonstrate both parenting skills and financial security before being allowed to have children.

An editorial in the Portland Press Herald points out (“Our View: Childhood poverty rate a disgrace for Maine,” Sept. 22) more than a quarter of children under 5 in Maine live in poverty.


William Vaughan Jr. is a resident of Chebeague Island.

The editorial never mentions that most of these children are born to families that should not be having children in the first place.

To drive legally, one must be of a certain age, pass a driving test, and purchase insurance. None of these standards applies to giving birth.

This past January there were 1,721 children in foster care, costing taxpayers $36.2 million a year, or $21,000 per child per year (“Drug issues propel rise in foster care in Maine,” Jan. 26).

This is a problem for poor children and taxpayers, but not their parents, since others are paying the cost of raising their children.

It only makes sense to set standards that should be met before giving birth.

I suggest three reasonable criteria: A person should show the ability to pay for food, clothing and shelter for a child, a knowledge of how to raise a child and a desire to care for a child.

Anyone meeting these standards is unlikely to require help from taxpayers, and the children of such people are unlikely to have the kinds of problems mentioned in the editorial.

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