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Welfare Plan's Effect on Infants

September 22, 1992

In response to "Study Calls Welfare Plan a Peril to Infants," Sept. 9:

There are several faulty assumptions with Stanford professor Michael Wald's report.

First, although all child development professionals concur on the importance of bonding during the first year, a compelling body of research also exists on the non-deleterious effects of day care on infants of working mothers.

Further, it is ludicrous to assume that relatives and neighbors cannot provide adequate or even exemplary infant care when mom is working. Those of us who can afford to hire child care providers too often swap horror stories about the "high-paid" sitters who came to our homes and mistreated our babies. I would have gladly opted for a loving relative or neighbor to watch my children when they were infants.

In addition, my own research with welfare mothers indicates that those women who are taking positive steps to improve their lives--as in attending adult education programs--develop an enhanced sense of self-esteem, which often translates to more confident parenting skills. Time after time, welfare mothers who are participating in Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) have reported to me that their return to either school or work has only strengthened their family unit.

June Cleaver was a great mom, but so am I--and so are the thousands of welfare recipients who are taking positive steps to leave the social service system--even when their children are infants!

KAREN GORBACK, Thousand Oaks

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