As the composition of the family unit has changed since the 1950's, so have the ways in which families regard their contributions to society. In spite of the changes in families over the years, some things have not changed. No matter what the structure of the family unit, the same societal expectations exist as always. It is still expected that a family, traditional or non-traditional, will have someone within the structure who will take on the financial responsibility of providing for the family unit. The fact that 18% of children under the age of 18 are living in a household with only one parent doesn't change the role of that family unit. Society, as a whole, has changed the way the family unit is conceived, and it is no longer seen as the two-parent, one-breadwinner family of the past. It is predicted that the trend of modern vs. traditional families will continue throughout the 21st Century. This switch does not mean that families will no longer be together to do family things or that there will no longer be a role model for the children, but rather simply that the structure of the family unit will not be the same as in the 1950's and earlier.
The change in family structure means nothing more than the home may not be headed by the father of the children but may be headed by the mother, another relative, or in the case of a gay/lesbian relationship, one of the partners. Does this reduce the service they provide to society Not by any means, it does no more that reallocate the distribution of that service from the traditional family breadwinner to another member of the family unit. In the case of a couple, married or not, who have ended the relationship and share the upbringing of the children, this translates into a division of the service to society on behalf of the children.
Though one may look around and view the number of parents who are not a part of society in the respect that they are raising their families at the government's expense, this is still a small part of the overall majority. For these parents, Welfare Reform provided a way for them to become self-supporting and therefore become able to serve society. For many of these, it was not a matter of choosing; it was a matter of not knowing where to begin or how to begin. Welfare reform has indeed added more parents to percentages of those who are doing their part to serve society by working, taking care of their families, and having enough money to do for their families things that families need to do in order to stay focused on the family unit. For those who need the help it is available, but for the rest of the parents and caregivers, their part is paved for them, and they have learned to become contributing members of society in thought and deed. Yes, both of these are important because financial contributions are only a small part of what falls into the category of serving society. This also includes other parts of parenting such as seeing that their children are attending school, providing guidelines for their children that will assure success in life, being the emotional support for their children