Regarding "A Crying Need for Child-Care Job Benefits" (John F. Lawrence, April 7), as a long-time "child advocate" who feels that society is giving both children and their families very little help in coping with the difficult tasks of growing up and taking care of family needs, I wish to express my personal gratitude for bringing these issues to public attention.
However, absentee reduction cannot be counted on, even with the provision of high-quality child care unless there is some provision for the care of children when they are ill. Children get sick, and are all too generous in sharing their infectious illnesses with everyone around them.
One way in which illness-transmission can be cut down is by insisting on adequate health guidelines and a well-trained staff in the child-care programs who understand principles of illness-prevention.
However, these are not easily come by, and many people both in the health and early childhood education fields have been trying to find the answers.
District IX of the American Academy of Pediatrics (the district encompassing all of California) has taken day care as its No. 1 priority, and there have been national conferences, meetings and special programs of all kinds.
We have not yet come up with perfect solution, but perhaps if, in addition to job benefits, industry could prevail upon the licensing agencies to develop a good health-consultation system, and upon the colleges and universities educating our child-care workers to have sound health principles and preventive measures included in their child development curricula, we might come closer to working out better answers for working parents of young children.
ANN DeHUFF PETERS, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
UCSD School of Medicine