|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? The Online NewsHour asks: Aren't the same politicians who supported recent welfare reform that forced many single, poor mothers to back to work the same people who are now suggesting that parents should stay at home to look after their children?
Sen. Patty Murray responds:
Yes, many of the same people who supported a welfare reform bill that I saw as punitive are now arguing that parents should stay at home. Apparently, poor families should go to work, while families who are not in economic crisis should be afforded the luxury of staying at home with their children. It's not that staying at home isn't preferred. It is. But the reality is that welfare reform is here to stay, and we have an obligation to make it work. Without affordable child care, welfare reform will fail. I support moving people off welfare and back to work. I just want to see them succeed, and I want to educate those in Congress who only see punitive solutions that there is a bigger picture out there.
American families need to have choices. If the family discussion around the table is that Mom or Dad or Grandma should stay at home, then we should have government policies that support that decision in some way. If the decision is to go to work, we should support that decision. Whether the children do well or not is in the national interest. The solutions here are going to be a partnership of families, businesses, and the public sector. No one can do it alone, but all of us gain if the children succeed. We cannot afford to let them fail.