The family has undergone dramatic change over the past 30 years. Data gathered from various services such as U.S. Bureau of the Census and the Department of Labor and from a variety of authors clearly document this transformation. For example, the latest census statistics show an increased number of females in the workforce, with over half of married women with children under age 6 working outside the home, as compared with 12% in 1950; a high divorce rate, with up to half of present marriages ending in divorce and resulting in single-parent families; increased numbers of unmarried parents; and an astonishing estimate indicating that 60% of children born in the 1980s and 1990s will experience a period in which they will be part of a single-parent family. Each change in the nature and structure of the family has potential for reducing parental control and parents’ awareness of their children’s activities, resulting in increased risk for delinquency. Given these changes in the family, approaches and interventions to curb, control, or prevent delinquency and violence require reexamination and revision.
Simplistic solutions that call for a restoration of family values and enduring two-parent relationships represent an ideal, what must be an impossible dream. The once-supportive extended family no longer exists for many families, and responsibility resides in increasing numbers on single parents. Even intact families are experiencing stress; many have both parents working outside the home, thus limiting the effectiveness of even ded-