Joyce Mallory, director of Start Smart Milwaukee, a non-profit group that monitors trends affecting young children, says that in the United States in general, and among African-Americans in particular, "somewhere along the line, we kind of gave tacit approval that it's OK to have babies out of wedlock, and we celebrate that and say it's OK.
I don't think it's OK."She
suggests that not only were the numbers smaller 25 years ago, the overall atmosphere for single parents was more stable in Milwaukee's black neighborhoods - less desperation, crime and drugs, more solid employment.The general lack of resources and the abundance of pressure and stress make things all the harder for single parents now, says Mallory, a former member of the Milwaukee School Board.
To their credit, both Erika Cole and Diamond Green are among those who take advantage of services available in the community.
Cole has been a regular recently in a parenting group one evening a week run by Catholic Social Services and the Parenting Network at the PACT (Parents and Communities Together) Family Resource Center at S. 5th St. and W. Lincoln Ave.She
says talking with other parents about issues each of them faces and getting tips on good parenting from the group's facilitators have been helpful to her
As for Green, while she
was in the hospital after the birth of her
was visited by a worker with a program called Supporting Today's Parents that aims to make sure every first-time parent gets at least some information on what services are available in the community.