Children and Families

The family is the most basic social organization. While social institutions increasingly share many of the family's responsibilities toward children, they can never take the place of families. Social institutions - government at all levels, employers, religious institutions, schools, media, community organizations - should enter into creative partnerships with families to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities toward children. Economic and social policies such as minimum wage, child care, educational resources, and parental leave should be continually evaluated in light of their impact on the strength and stability of family life.

When a family lives in fidelity it is a place of refuge and dignity, a place where each member is accepted, respected and honored precisely because he or she is a person. Unfortunately, instead of being the source, school, and standard for fidelity, sometimes the family can become the scene of life's harshest violations. We must do all that we can to insure that families are healthy and safe places for children.

Principles for Action

"Families often become unsustainable when people lose their sense of self worth, particularly when they are out of work, or under great hardship. Clearly the present economic crisis, not only in Appalachia but around the world, is for many individuals and families one of those moments of great hardship…But we trust in Jesus' healing love. And so we know that these great wounds can be healed. To help wounded families to find healing, and to become emotionally sustainable, we need prayer and forgiveness, but not a false forgiveness which covers up the problem. For loving forgiveness must always be based on truth. To live the truth in love, we need personal and family supports, rooted in the local community." Appalachian Bishops, At Home in the Web of Life, 1995

We support policies that:

  • Put children and families first;
  • Help families meet their responsibilities to their children;
  • Help to provide affordable, quality child care;
  • Provide quality educational opportunities for every child;
  • Protect children from abuse and neglect;
  • Fight poverty, joblessness, lack of access to affordable health care, and decent housing;
  • Target families that require the most help - those facing poverty and discrimination, while recognizing our responsibility to all;
  • Recognize the West Virginia Self Sufficiency Standard as a benchmark for providing adequate wages and social services to our families.