22. Families First (4/95)

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Whereas social service and educational professionals, corporations, the media, and public policy makers are increasingly identifying the family as the primary cause of many of our social problems; and

Whereas these same interests have tremendous political power through their professional associations, institutions, companies, and access to the media; and

Whereas addressing the complexity of social problems includes assigning significant responsibility for our problems to the very professions, institutions, corporations, and government bureaucracies that hold most of the power in our society; and

Whereas some of these interests are now advocating fundamental changes in the rights, authority, and role of the family including having professionals rather than parents decide what is in the best interests of the child, reducing the age at which a child may be jailed, requiring parents to undergo mental health treatment if their children are accused of breaking a law, removing trial by jury for parents and children in matters having to do with family life and alleged criminal behavior by children and youth, authorizing judges to making rulings and dispositions regarding children and their parents that are the “most effective” in the eyes of a judge and the state rather than the “least restrictive” of individual and family rights and responsibilities; and

Whereas the family is the basic unit of society and has been shown consistently to be the best place for resolving difficulties that arise within a family and within society at large except in the most extreme cases; and

Whereas the policies outlined above would be a severe repression of fundamental freedoms and civil liberties as they relate to the family and would also be the most basic undermining of the role and function of the family this society has witnessed; and

Whereas members of both political parties and the professional and corporate power centers of this nation support such policies; and

Whereas professional and corporate interests represent a very small percentage of the American people; and

Whereas most families do not have institutional or organizational avenues for having their opinions and concerns heard; and

Whereas families are not only the basic unit of society but the best place for carrying out the basic activities, work, and nurturing that a society needs; and

Whereas the importance of families has been weakened by policies that place professional, institutional, economic, and governmental interests ahead of the family;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to advance the principle of Families First by informing the public of the importance of the family to society, the strengths families have, the benefits of putting families first; and WPA will work to inform people of the challenges to the importance and integrity of the family, including how these challenges affect all families, not just those involved with social services or the juvenile justice system. 4/95

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