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E. Stepparents Are People, Too

Narrator: This is Science Today. Twenty-five percent of all children in this country are expected to live in a stepfamily at some point in life before reaching eighteen. Mary Ann Mason, a professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley says even with these statistics, there is still no uniform public policy on what benefits stepchildren can inherit in the case of divorce or the death of a stepparent.

Mason: If a family, the original family divorces, they'll be continuing child support, continuing benefits, life insurance, social security, inheritance. Virtually none of those things are available to stepchildren, even though they might have been raised by the stepparent and be completely dependent on them in all the ways that children are on parent's income.

Narrator: Mason says second families are often not recognized because they are considered problematic.

Mason: And while they may have problems, the children in them do deserve consideration and they deserve to have the public recognition and support that intact families have, or children of divorce have now, in terms of public recognition and acceptance.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.