Helping Working Parents

Across the country today, volunteers for the National Council of Jewish Women will be handing out ``Food for Thought'' boxes on street corners, at subway stations, in office-building lobbies, and on the steps of Congress. The boxes contain information on child and elder care for both employees and their employers.

The National Council of Jewish Women, together with the Marriott Corporation, has declared today the ``National Day of the Working Parent,'' hoping to focus the nation's attention on the needs of people who are looking for a better balance between their jobs and families.

In Dallas, for example, a seminar entitled, ``Juggling Job and Family - Making It Work at Work,'' is providing workshops, training, and resource material to local employers. In San Jose, Calif., mayors from five towns in the area are distributing the ``Food for Thought'' boxes to low-income families. And in Washington, Dana Friedman, co-president of the New York-based Families and Work Institute, is speaking about the results of a new survey of American workers called the ``National Study of the Changing Work Force,'' which shows that employees feel a deep conflict between their responsibilities to their employers and their families.

The ``National Day of the Working Parent'' is part of a larger campaign the National Council of Jewish Women, a volunteer organization, has waged against the crisis in child and elder care in the United States, says council spokeswoman Michele Spirn.

The goal of the day and of the larger campaign is to work with businesses to show them their child-care and elder-care options. ``Today the workplace is more family-friendly,'' Ms. Spirn says, ``but it's still tough to access these policies.''

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