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White House Focuses On Child Care

By Jonathan Karl/CNN


WASHINGTON (Oct. 22) -- In millions of American homes, every weekday morning begins with a race to get the kids ready to go to child care.

Before David and Eileen Tootle go to work, they need to get their 2-year-old son Evan to day care.

"We do everything the night before," said Eileen Tootle. "We pack lunch the night before, we pick out his outfit and set it on the linen counter ... Sometimes even the coffee is in the coffee maker the night before."


Juggling work and family is more complicated than it was 30 years ago. Today more than 60 percent of women with children under age six work, and that's twice as many as in 1970.

Of the 20 million children in the United States under kindergarten age, more than 6 million spend part of their day in day care.

That's a costly proposition for many parents. "It ranks up there with the mortgage, especially if you have two kids," said Nancy Oleynik.


It costs her almost $14,000 a year to keep her two children in day care.

"At a certain point, it's really not worth it to work if you have to pay that kind of money in day care," she said.

On average, families spend almost 8 percent of their income on day care. For low-income families, that percentage is much higher, as much as 25 percent.

There's some help for them; the federal government provides $3 billion in block grants to the states to subsidize child care for low-income families.


"One of the roles for government is to help people balance the competing demands between work and family," said Rahm Emanuel, a senior policy advisor at the White House.

Just what the government's role should be is sure to spark heated debate, after Thursday's first ever White House conference on child care. Meanwhile working parents like Eileen Tootle will have to juggle jobs and family the old-fashioned way, by themselves.

In Other News:

Wednesday Oct. 22, 1997

Let's Go To The Videotape
Clinton To Propose Emissions Reductions
Republicans Gleeful At White House Switch
White House Focuses On Child Care
House To Extend Immigrant Provision
Clinton Taps Jones For Air Force
Congress To Keep Government Running
Civil Rights Candidate Faces Senate
Senate Confirms Ambassador To Rome
House OKs Student Loans Measure
GOP Ads Aid Congressional Candidate

E-mail From Washington:
Ohio Congressman Support The Tribe
First Lady Will Visit Ireland, U.K.

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