Changing Definitions of Families

Unmarried America Website

"Unmarried America is an information service for America's 87 million unmarried adults...The newspaper column, library, and radio show are all functions of Spectrum Institute, a nonprofit corporation with federal tax exempt status."


Column One is a weekly commentary by Thomas F. Coleman that deals with the legal, political, economic, and social aspects of singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.


To view these archives, please click here


Library One is Unmarried America's online database which contains more than 6,500 pages of material on unmarried adults. A tax-deductible donation to Unmarried America is necessary in order to gain access  to the the online library.


To visit the Library One main page, please click here  

The Alternatives to Marriage Project (AtMP)

The Alternatives to Marriage Project (AtMP) provides overviews and other resources on a variety of issues related to family diversity including: Cohabitation, Living Single, Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Marriagefree, Polyamory, Domestic Partner Benefits, Legal Issues, Common Law Marriage, Commitment Ceremonies, and Unmarried Parenting.

Visit the publications page of their website for articles, reports, fact sheets and more,

For more information on The Alternatives to Marriage Project, click here:

Work, Human Capital, and Family Composition: An Analysis of Public Policies and Incentive Structures in Oklahoma

Activity Description: 

A PowerPoint presentation by Zohre Salehezadeh and Kenneth Kickham of the Office of Planning, Policy and Research, Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Activity Source: 

Salehezadeh, Z. & Kickham, K. (2004). Work, human capital, and family composition: An analysis of public policies and incentive structures in Oklahoma. Retrieved February 19, 2008, from the Community Action Project of Tulsa County web site:

Council on Contemporary Families -- Educational Materials

Activity Description: 

The Council on Contemporary Families provides several educational materials that may be of use for teaching on this topic. Some of these resources include:

  • "Teaching Family History: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to WWW Resources"
  • "Myths and Misconceptions about America's Changing Families". 

To view these materials:

Activity Source: 

"The Council on Contemporary Families (CCF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the national conversation about what contemporary families need and how these needs can best be met.”

For more about the Council:

Gray, Jane

Jane Gray is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, and a Research Associate of the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analyis at NUI Maynooth, where she is the programme leader for the Irish Qualitative Data Archive. Her research and teaching interests centre on questions relating to families, households and social change. She recently completed research for the Combat Poverty Agency on ‘Poverty and the Life Cycle in 20th Century Ireland,’ drawing on life story interviews collected as part of the ‘Life Histories and Social Change Project’ that she co-directed with Professor Sean O’Riain.  She is co-author, with Professor Mary P. Corcoran and Professor Michel Peillon, of the book Suburban Affiliations, published by Syracuse University Press  in 2010.

Expertise: Changing Definitions of Families, Community, Work and Family.

+353 1 708 3596

National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Department of Sociology
NUI Maynooth
County Kildare


Crowley, Jocelyn Elise

Jocelyn Elise Crowley is a Professor of Public Policy, a member of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Political Science, and an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. Most recently, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has funded numerous of her research projects on mothers’ organizations in the United States, parenting challenges and public policy, and workplace flexibility. She has written extensively on the topic of family policy, including her books The Politics of Child Support in America (2003; Cambridge University Press) and Defiant Dads: Fathers’ Rights Activists in America (2008; Cornell University Press). In addition to contributing to an edited volume on international fathers’ rights movements, she has published numerous articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Social Science Quarterly, Health Education and Behavior, Legislative Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Marriage and Family Review, Justice System Journal, Perspectives on Politics, Social Service Review, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Sociological Inquiry, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Social Forces, Sociological Spectrum, and the Eastern Economic Journal. During the 2005-2006 academic year, she was chosen to be a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City. She spent the 2006-2007 academic year at the Department of Politics, New York University and the Social Indicators Survey Center, Columbia University School of Social Work.

Expertise: Dual Earner Families, Single Parents, Flexible Work Schedules, Changing Definitions of Families, Work-Family Conflict

(732) 932-2499 x

Rutgers University - The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
33 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901
United States

McKenna, Christine

Christine McKenna earned her Ph.D. in Social Science from Syracuse University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University. She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Emmanuel College in Boston, where she teaches an undergraduate course on “Family and Gender Roles.” Her research has focused on gender and social policy in the United States. Her dissertation traced the political development of a regressive benefits structure for child care subsidies in the U.S., with some low-income families benefitting from generous vouchers and others stuck on waiting lists while middle- and upper-income families claim child care deductions on their taxes. Prior to entering academia, Christine worked for the United Way promoting the importance of after-school care for working families and for an anti-poverty advocacy organization in New York State. She helped to coordinate the steering committee responsible for generating the Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York, a document that analyzes the cost of living in each of the state’s counties for several household types. The report has been used in advocating for increased support services to enable low-income families to make ends meet and in developing training programs to help mothers enter fields that provide career ladders for advancement and greater earning potential. Christine was selected as a Work-Family Early Career Scholar by the Sloan Foundation for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Expertise: Afterschool Care, Child Care, Dependent Care Tax Assistance, Changing Definitions of Families, Community, Work and Family


Emmanuel College
400 The Fenway
Boston MA 02115
United States

Russo, Francine

Francine Russo is the author of the new book They're Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents' Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy (Bantam 2010). She is a widely recognized journalist known for her alertness to developing trends, especially in her own boomer generation. Keenly attuned to psychological themes, she has honed the intimate interview, drawing her subjects to discover and articulate their own deepest feelings. For nearly a decade Russo covered the boomer  and aging beat for Time magazine and in 2004 established a popular niche, becoming Time magazine's boomer expert in her regularly featured "Ask Francine" column. Her pieces for The Atlantic sparked media debate and were widely anthologized. She has developed an enthusiastic following with her  articles in media like The New York Times Magazine, Redbook, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Self, Glamour, and The Village Voice, where she was a theater critic for over a decade. She blogs for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.  In 2009 she became a New York Times Fellow at the International Longevity Center.  She has a Ph.D. in English and lives in Manhattan.

Russo has become in demand as a keynote speaker on psychological and practical issues affecting caregivers and the extended aging family: eldercare, family and adult sibling dynamics, dementia, end-of-life decision-making, elder-law, grieving and resilience,  and other topics. She has spoken at Jewish Home Lifecare (Manhattan), New York County Lawyers Association, the American Society on Aging (Chicago: Aging in America conference), and DARTS resources for seniors (St. Paul, MN); she will soon deliver keynotes for Massachusetts General Hospital, North Shore-LIJ Health System, and Jewish Home Lifecare (Mamaroneck, NY). See Russo's Web site: www.YourParentsToo for more about her.

Expertise:Baby boomers, eldercare, marital relationships, parent/child relationships, family and sibling dynamics in late-life families around caregiving, transfers of power, end-of-life decision-making, mourning and inheritance, and how these issues stress employees


Fletcher, Richard J

Richard J. Fletcher is Leader of the Fathers and Families Research Program at the Family Action Centre, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, NSW.  He is convener of the Australian Fatherhood Research Network. Broadly, his research team focuses on strength-based approaches to researching parent-child connection under conditions of environmental (physical and social) stress. Current projects include developing a measure of child focus for separating parents, assessing father-inclusive competencies among health and welfare practitioners, Indigenous fathers’ perspectives of fathering role and connection to children and commuting parents’ strategies for maintaining parent-child connection. Specifically, he studies father-child attachment and postnatal depression, fathering of children with autism spectrum disorders and fathers’ development of a fathering identity.

Expertise: Families with Disabilities/Special Needs, Paternity Leave, Changing Definitions of Families, Fathering and postnatal depression, Father-inclusive competencies among professionals.

+61 2 49216401

Newcastle University - School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Daysh Building
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Millar, Jane

Jane Millar is Professor of Social Policy and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath, UK. Her research interests include social security policy; poverty, inequality and social exclusion; family policy and the policy implications of family change; gender and social policy; and comparative social policy.  Her current research explores the lives of children and lone mothers in low-income working households.

Expertise: Dual Earner Families, Single Parents, Part-Time Workers, Changing Definition of Families, Work-Family Balance


University of Bath
Department of European Studies & Modern Languages
Bath BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

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