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Child Care in Orange County

November 29, 1987

The Times recently printed an editorial stressing the importance of developing comprehensive day-care programs. In recent years, I have read several such editorials and articles in newspapers and magazines. The necessity of developing and encouraging day-care facilities can not be overemphasized. However, nowhere in these plans have I seen any reference to the single most important aspect of any day-care program--the personnel to run the program.

A certified teacher in this field should receive the salary and benefits commensurate with the training and responsibility that the position requires. Unfortunately, the entry salary is usually minimum wage, and the top salary is not appreciably better. Health benefits, sick leave and annual vacation are seldom included. Is it any wonder that there is a rapid turnover of employees? Can we truly expect young people to enter a field where there is no room for financial or professional growth?

Amazingly, a few do remain because of their dedication to the children, but dedication does not pay for the daily necessities of living, particularly in Orange County.

We casually leave our most important resource at day-care centers and never consider the needs of the people who bear the responsibility for taking care of our children.

In any plans for a viable child-care program, we must first begin with the care givers. Otherwise, we will have just one more makeshift, stopgap program after another. Our children and those who care for them need and deserve more than this.

ESTELLE WASLOSKY

Brea

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