Because of the "total lack of money and lack of state and federal support," says Day Care Council of America executive director Jan Calderon Yocum, "it's time to get political and make a statement to our leaders that we want quality day care for all working parents at a price they can afford."
In the interest of "politicizing" the subject of day care, all presidential candidates were invited to speak at last week's national Day Care Council conference. "Anderson said no," said Yocum. "Reagan made no response. Carter said he'd be in Italy, but felt it was an important enough issue to send Health and Human Services Secretary Patricia Harris." Ted Kennedy appeared personally.
The council also invited representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties and feminism "mother" Betty Friedan. Here are excerpts of their remarks:
Edward M. Kennedy: "We must recognize that child care in modern American life is not just a bonus for the poor, but a necessity for families of all types and conditions. It is fasionable now to be against government . . . But in the field of day care, to be anti-government is to be anti-children.
"It is not only morally right, but also far less expensive, for government to assist childern in growing up whole and strong and able, than to pay the bill later for children and adults who grow up with health, social and educational problems.
"Government must be sensitive to child care in shaping all its policies and programs. Child care . . . must be an important factor in determining federal policies on housing, transportation, education, employment and health." f
Roger Semerad, executive director of the Republican Party's temporary committee on resolutions: "The Republican party has a long record of opposing government day care. The overwhelming message in 1980 is that the private sector is less expensive and more efficient in delivering services.
"Republicans are very supportive of private day care.Most families prefer home care with neighbors or relatives. People want to place their children with people they know well, close to their home.
"One policy direction we should encourage is the use of tax credits to enable the individual to make arrangements for whatever child care they deem fit."
Kate Mattos, Democratic Party co-ordinator of women delegates: "President Carter says this about day care: 'I am committed to join in developing a comprehensive child-care program which will help to fund state and local programs and provide subsidies or scaled fees for employed mothers from low- and moderate-income families.'"
HHS Secretary Patricia Harris: "The need for more and better day-care services in this country is irrefutable. Families must have good quality day care at an affordable price.
"In March, I announced new regulations that will apply to all day-care centers receiving federal funds. It is a major accomplishment, designed to promote the physical and intellectual well-being of children."
Betty Friedan: "We are entering the second stage of the women's movement, to make equality livable and workable and to make it possible for women to choose to have children.
"Working is not a luxury, but a necessity for the great majority of women. We have to restructure the institutions of home, family and work and implement a good national child-care program."