Harry Bernstein’s column, “New Child-Care Law Gets a D-Minus” (Nov. 13), downgrades the achievement marked by the United States’ first national child-care legislation.
Bernstein correctly points out that compared to European countries the United States lags far behind in its support for child-care facilities, parental leave policies and access to prenatal care. But he fails to mention that this is a beginning.
The law provides $2.5-billion in federal child-care block-grant funds over three years, $1.5 billion over five years to help families at risk of welfare dependency to purchase child care and $18.2 billion in tax relief for low-income working families. California will receive $67.6 million of these funds in fiscal 1991.
The legislation will improve the quality and availability of child care. The safeguards and protections for those in child care will affect all children, not just those who are publicly subsidized. Most important, the legislation provides a base from which we can work to improve national and state child-care services and policies in the years ahead.
JUNE SOLNIT SALE
Sale is director of UCLA’s Child-Care Services. Roemer, a professor at the School of Public Health, is chair of UCLA’s Child-Care Services advisory board.