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Child Care Imperative Urgent And Indisputable Good, Painful Plan Those Who Haven’t Cared Will Now Pay Attention.

The woman needed a favor from a friend, a writer who worked at home. Can you pick up my child at school and deliver her to music lessons? No, the woman writer said, ask your husband. Well, the harried mother replied, I didn’t even ask because he’s at work.

The writer stood her ground because she said until men felt the pain of child care, nothing would change. And men wouldn’t feel the pain if women kept bailing them out by doing all child care logistics themselves.

The writer’s essay appeared in Ms. magazine about five years ago. Things have changed since then. More and more fathers are sharing the day care burden, juggling work shifts, dropping off and picking up their kids at the baby sitter’s. But our country still faces a child care crisis because so many hold onto the belief that it’s a mother’s problem or simply a family problem.

That is why President Clinton’s proposed child care plan is a good one. He’s calling for a $22 billion investment to make child care better, safer and more accessible. Increased child care tax credits would go to 3 million working families. Businesses that assist employees with child care would see $500 million in tax credits. The quality of child care would improve dramatically for low-income families. The best part of the plan is the debate it will generate. This amount - $22 billion - will cause pain to taxpayers, so men and women who haven’t cared about child care will finally pay attention.

Those against government helping out say it’s a family problem, not a government one. But the child care crisis will take collaboration among families, businesses and the government. The plan recognizes this. Some argue that if women would stay home and take care of the kids, the problem would go away. That choice is not available to all women, and if all women workers stayed home, our economy would collapse.

Many families have no choice about using child care, particularly single parents. Currently, their choices are few and much of the quality is lousy. The turnover is astounding. Child care workers who go through college programs find the jobs pay so little that they can’t afford to stay in the field. All of this is will be mitigated by government involvement. American kids deserve high-quality care, and this country really can’t afford not to help provide it.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Kids need parents, not paid stand-ins

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides

See opposing view under the headline: Kids need parents, not paid stand-ins

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides



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