Response

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In the Orange County Register editorial entitled, “Needed: A Policy for Children When Parents Go to Work,” Maxine Phillips points out the problems in childcare: many daycare facilities are not up to the standard, better childcare facilities are not affordable. He attributes all these problems to the inadequate funding and poor regulation of the government. To solve the problem, Phillips advocates a family leave law so parents can take time off following the birth of their children, “neighborhood nonprofit day-care facilities open to everyone,” and after-school day care for school age children of working parents. She also calls for funding for prenatal care, nutrition, health care, and welfare to bolster the family unit. To secure these benefits, Phillips suggests that parents lobby for them.         It’s always interesting how much “lip service” the media and politicians give “the family.” Everyone seems to want to tout their high commitment to “family values,” but no one seems willing to “put their money where their mouth is.” Child care costs money. There is no way of getting around that. There are also many substandard child care facilities; this too is a sad fact. Yet day care centers hire non-skilled workers and pay them minimum wage. Shouldn’t we be a little bit more selective about whom we leave our children with?         Recently an installment of Dateline had a piece that discussed how critical the first five years of development are for children. A large percentage of a child’s neural connections are made during the early years of development, but a child who does not receive adequate stimulation during this critical state of development will not develop as many connections. Do we want to rely on some unskilled, minimum-wage worker to help our children develop their intellectual potential?         Unfortunately there is no easy answer to the problem. Many conservative groups would insist that a parent (usually the mother) stay home with the...
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