Sick Kid? There's Someplace to Turn

Facilities for sick children are the rarest of those providing backup child care.

In West Los Angeles, however, there is the Wishing Well, located on the grounds of the Samuel Goldwyn Child Care Center. Since August, 1991, mildly ill children from six weeks to 12 years have been welcomed, said Estelle Kramer, director of the entire child-care operation. Kramer stressed that for $5 per hour, the services are "open to the public, not just people in the entertainment industry."

She remembered the attorney, for instance, who frantically telephoned at 7 a.m. because her toddler had an earache and her child-care provider was also sick.

"You can't just call the judge and say my kid has an earache," said Kramer, who told the mother to bring the child right over.

A full-time health assistant watches over the children, Kramer said. "She doesn't mind just sitting and rocking a child all day," she added.

Kramer said that when possible, the child-care center also accepts healthy children on a drop-in basis. She said she is amazed that with so many women in the work force, child care remains such a battle.

"I deal with women who are really high-powered, women who could rule the world," Kramer said. "And with day care, we still have to fight for every little thing."

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