|AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE
Has the Clinton Administration found a solution for working families?
February 4, 1998
in this forum:
Will Clinton's proposal prompt families to seek child care instead of staying home? Shouldn't we actively encourage parents to stay home? Can the government really support a parent's choice to stay home? Why should U.S. taxpayers subsidize parents who want to work? How do you reconcile welfare reform with the expectation that parents stay home? Desiree Palm of Broken Arrow, OK asks: ... My husband is a dual-degreed financial analyst... both of us are highly educated, yet can only "financially" afford to stay home part-time. We cannot "morally" afford to have our daughter away from us part-time.
Can we not rethink this "day care reform" and make it "at least one parent at home reform?" I do not think that anyone can disagree with the fact that this is what is the right and correct thing to do.
Sen. Patty Murray responds:
It certainly would be cheaper to have all children stay at home with a parent or family member. But, the problem is that today, many people just don't have the choice to stay home. Welfare policies are forcing low-income people to go to work. In some states, the requirements send people on public assistance back to work when the baby is only three months old.
For families not impacted by welfare, there are still a variety of barriers to a parent staying at home. Only some of these are economic. What I know as a parent, and what we know as a nation is that children need a rich variety of nurturing and stimulating opportunities, whether at home, with a relative, or in a child care setting.
On the economic side, we must do what we can to make sure women earn as much as men for the same job, we must make sure a minimum wage is a living wage for families, and that we support the choices of all families, whether they choose to work or not. People must also have the skills that will allow them to succeed if they stay at home, and succeed if they need to go to work.