Narrator : This is Science Today.
Welfare reform is in the air, and a lot of attention
is focused on so-called unwed teenage mothers. But
social welfare professor Neil Gilbert of the University
of California, Berkeley says that during all the
talk about cutting benefits for having children,
one important group has been overlooked: the fathers.
Gilbert: The real concern is the absent fathers, the men who are getting these women pregnant and walking. And one of the interesting things about that group of course is that while you have a lot of teenage women getting pregnant and having children out of wedlock, the people who are impregnating them, the men, are not teenagers.
Narrator: While the women are often in their teens -- sometimes their early teens -- the men, says Gilbert, tend to be in their early and mid twenties.
Gilbert: And so you have a 15 or 16 year old and a 22, 23 year old guy...
Narrator: ...who, like the mother, very often has extremely dim prospects for being employed. Gilbert says welfare reform should focus on getting the next generation off the cycle of welfare dependency, because simply cutting back benefits only hurts the children. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.