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Welfare Reform

March 16, 1994

Re "Child Care a Key Hurdle to Clinton Welfare Plan," March 6:

When will our country get realistic? Raising children is a full-time job. Instead of providing child-care centers for welfare mothers to teach them to work at male-oriented tasks, welfare should mandate that parents who are unemployed attend week-long classes on parenting, food preparation, decision-making and constructive use of time with their children. In other words, pay them for the job they are doing ineffectively at home while teaching them how to do it more effectively. These are the skills I found lacking in the dysfunctional young women I worked with for many years.

The skills can be taught in neighborhood classrooms by peer role models trained in behavior modification methods using sophisticated computer techniques. This will give students skills that will be marketable when the two years of welfare benefits have elapsed. Children must be involved in the learning process, solving the child care dilemma. We have the woman-power, we're just using it in a male-dominated paradigm that has proven to be unsuccessful.

ROSE T. MONROE

Paso Robles

In response to "Helping People Help Themselves," editorial, Feb. 28:

President Clinton's welfare task force will allow two years of benefits before requesting a recipient to get a job. Where does the father fit into this training plan? Why not help him make something of his life? Make a man of himself and find work to support his girlfriend and child. How about "a public job such as some form of community service"?

The $7 billion over five years could be spent on teaching young people trades, educating them and teaching them how to look for opportunity. Let's all "escape from welfare" and teach the guys and girls some preventive measures. Make the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program mandatory for unmarried girls. Let's hunt down deadbeat dads and make them accountable. If taxpayers are going to spend $7 billion training these girls to work, let's educate them and give their kids some self-esteem. If we can't afford it, well, we've all had to sling hash at some time or another.

MARISSA GARCIA

Montebello

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