White House family parleys seek job, tax, and government-policy shifts

A call for changes in work-place policies, taxes, and government programs that affect families topped the list of recommendations proposed by delegates to the three White House Conferences on Families held earlier this summer.

The findings were released by the conferences in preparation for a meeting of the group's national task force here in Washington.

"Analysis of the recommendations has revealed broad agreement on the part of the more than 2,000 delegates on proposals ranging from the need for flexible job schedules to an all-out assault on drug and alcohol abuse," says Jim Guy Tucker, the conference chairman.

"I think the consensus on the issues that prevailed at our Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles meetings reflects a mandate for change that our public and private policymakers should be aware of," Mr. Tucker adds.

The 117-member task force -- made up of 55 delegates from the states and territories, 22 delegates appointed by the conference chairman, and the conferences' 40-member national advisory committee -- will review, compare, and summarize the recommendations. The group will also outline the substance of the conferences' final report, which will be presented this fall to President Carter , Congress, and the public. This event will begin a six-month period during which the organization will work with public- and private- sector groups to convert the recommendations into action.

Among the recommendations receiving support at all three conferences were:

* Improved personnel practices. Ninety percent of the delegates at each conference called for work policies more responsive to family needs. Flexible working hours, flexible leave policies, job sharing, and child care were among the directions proposed by all three groups.

* Repeal of the "marriage tax." Delegates at the three sessions called for the revision of tax codes affecting day care, home care for the elderly, inheritance, and married couples.

* Family impact. The sometimes negative effect of government policies on families was a concern expressed at all three conferences.

* Recognition of homemakers. "National recognition" for the "intrinsic value of homemakers" through public education and news media campaigns was proposed by Baltimore and Minneapolis delegates. All delegates recommended tax law revisions, including tax exemptions for homemakers caring for children, and elderly and handicapped family members in the home.

* Substance abuse. Ranging between 87 percent and 97 percent, overwhelming majorities at the three meetings called for government, school, community, and media programs to combat alcohol and drug abuse.

* Health care for the aging. The need for home care for the elderly provided a consistent focus of attention.

* Child care. The development of alternative forms of child care received strong support. The Baltimore delegation proposal, which was typical, stated: "It should be the policy of government at all levels to promote the development of alternative forms of quality care, both center and home based."

* The news media. Stating that "the media bear a responsibility toward the family and the community," Los Angeles delegates passed the recommendation that "FCC licensure and programming criteria should provide that the media, especially television, be discouraged from glorifying the use of drugs and alcohol and promote responsible media advertising and programming which educate the family concerning the seriousness of substance abuse."

* Family violence. Treatment and preventive services, as well as educational programs aimed at halting trends in family violence, were recommended by all the delegates. Also proposed was the creation of "community crisis shelters" with supportive health, legal, and rehabilitative services.

* Adolescent pregnancy. Prevention through education was stressed by the delegates at all three meetings. Baltimore and Minneapolis delegates stated that "pregnant adolescents, adolescent parents, and their families should have access to comprehensive health, education, and social services that will help them overcome the problems associated with early pregnancy and teen-age parenthood.

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