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Parents, welfare, work

December 3, 1993



Regarding the articles ``Clinton Shifts Welfare Reform Into Gear'' and ``Changes to Vermont's System Mandate Work for Recipients,'' Nov. 18:

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The first article states, ``Most welfare recipients are women with children.'' That's the nub of the matter. Any system that mandates work must also provide a complex support system.

It is better to provide young women with parent training and pay them to remain at home with children under age two. However, if they must go to work, they also must be provided with top-class child care, subsidized housing, reliable transportation, meaningful job training, and continued support in the period between first job and self-sufficiency.

I founded the Creative Learning Center in Dallas and directed it from 1968 to 1979. I frequently saw mothers slide back onto welfare when support was withdrawn just as they needed it most - during the transition to self-sufficiency.

Providing the needed support may cost more than current programs, but in the long run we would produce more knowledgeable parents, children better prepared for school and success in life, and more productive citizens.

It would be a small price to pay to reduce the costs of remedial education, school dropouts, crime and other very costly deficits to society. Bess M. Tittle, San Diego

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