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Lack of Child Care Found to Deter Aid Recipients

January 12, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Job programs for welfare mothers that do not provide child care and other services doom millions of women to lives of dependency on government assistance, according to a congressional study released Saturday.

Despite "overwhelming evidence . . . that women in poverty desire to be self-sufficient," welfare regulations make it harder, not easier, for aid recipients to become financially independent, said the report by the House Government Operations Committee.

"Although there are many federal requirements for participation in work and training for welfare families, there are no concurrent federal provisions for quality child care, even to low-income families," the report said.

'An Elusive Goal'

"The lack of safe and affordable child care can foreclose the possibility of employment, training, education and even the opportunity to job hunt," the report said.

Regulations governing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which helps 10.8 million people in 3.7 million households, make it difficult for low-income mothers to obtain the education or training needed to get other than the most low-paying jobs, the report said.

"The low earnings, instability and lack of benefits associated with these jobs make economic independence an elusive goal for many relying on public assistance," the report said.

Noting that the number of households headed by women increased from 4.4 million in 1960 to 9.4 million in 1982, the report said there is a growing shortage of child care for working mothers.

"Any effort to promote self-sufficiency among low-income women that fails to fully integrate quality child care will not only be unworkable and counterproductive, but will compromise the welfare of low-income children," the panel said.

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