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Welfare Reform

* In response to “Identifying Fathers Called Crucial to Welfare Reform,” Dec. 16:

The welfare reform task force recommendations to make a new federal standard in establishing paternity as the centerpiece will not alone solve the problem of child support and will not adequately reduce the number of children in poverty. Current laws in the state require all mothers who apply for welfare to identify the father and relinquish their rights to collect child support. If they’re reluctant to cooperate, welfare offices often impose sanctions under existing law.

Establishing paternity is not the only problem. Failure to establish an order for support and to enforce collections by using every means of the law is the true Achilles’ heel of the entire child-support system nationwide.

It is sad that only about one-fourth of the women collect child support; in fact child support is not for women, it is for children. It is also sad that three-fourths of the cases get nothing because enforcement and collection in our country are ineffective.

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EILEEN OISHI, Coordinator

Assn. for Children for Enforcement

of Support, of West Los Angeles

* Your editorial “Moving Welfare to Near the Top of the List” (Dec. 14) is a lackluster discussion which seeks to isolate problems of “welfare dependency” from an array of phenomena that are making welfare a necessity. For example, productivity is generally used as a gauge of an economy’s vibrancy and overall health. The Times has reported that recent increases in productivity were coupled with further layoffs of workers nationwide.

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Despite the clamor to place “welfare reform” at the “top of the list,” absent job creation, such clamor is reduced to self-serving rhetoric.

GUIDO DE RIENZO

Staff Representative

American Federation of State, County and

Municipal Employees, Council 36, L.A.

* Let’s get this straight--a significant proportion of the welfare mothers are not qualified to enter the work force due to lack of experience or education, yet these are the women we are paying to have children. Now to get them to work we are supposed to pay someone to train and hire them while we pay for someone to care for their children at the same time. Sounds more like welfare shifting than welfare reform. Why don’t we consider paying them not to have children? That’s reform.

ROBERT LANZ

Los Angeles

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* “Identifying Fathers Called Crucial to Welfare Reform” addresses a subject dear to most of us, including the vast majority of fathers that are responsible for and caring for their children. Unfortunately the people that need to heed this message the most will probably not even read the article or hear the message.

There is one problem, however, with the picture painted by this article. The equity/parallelism expectations of fathers and mothers seem to ignore the most unequal part of the child care picture for those that were once married--the discrimination against fathers when child custody is determined. A local radio commentator recently broadcast that approximately 90% of custody is granted to mothers. This inequity must also be changed in order to fix the child support problem in broken marriages.

When good fathers desire the custody of their children they must get equal treatment. When the custody numbers nationwide reach the 50/50 area for parents, fathers will know that the country is serious about equality.

DAVID COMPAS

Long Beach


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