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Study: Child Care Remains a Problem

February 8, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Affordable, quality health care remains a critical problem for millions of families, a new study concluded Tuesday. The results came a day after President Clinton submitted a proposal for $1.1 billion in child care aid.

Lawmakers cited the report by the National Council of Jewish Women in urging expansion of child-care efforts.

``We need to do better by our children and families,″ said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

The report by the 90,000-member organization looked at obstacles families face in finding child care. The study, which compiled recent child-care research, urges both the public and private sectors to work toward better access and affordable, quality care.

The survey came a day after the release of President Clinton’s fiscal 2001 budget, which seeks $1.1 billion for child-care and development block grants to states, an increase of $573 million. The grants are the primary source of child-care subsidies for poor families.

Clinton also wants new tax credits for businesses building or expanding child-care programs for workers, an investment of $42 million next year and $1.4 billion for the decade.

The report found that in 15 states, the average cost of day care for 4-year-olds can be nearly twice the annual cost of college tuition.

``For most working parents, searching for child care is like running an Olympic track race _ every hurdle they leap is followed by another,″ said Jan Schneiderman, president of the organization.

The struggle is just as evident for child-care workers, according to the report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average annual salaries of janitors and bartenders are higher than those of child-care workers.

Almost one-third of child-care workers leave their jobs each year because of money, said Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md. ``They get paid less than they would at a fast-food place slinging hamburgers.″

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