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February 10, 1989 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



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Kiddie Care

Continued from preceding page

Everyone I know has at least
a one-year waiting list.
"People call in tears
because they cannot find
quality day care. It's tragic.
And because of a turf dispute
between the state and the
cities, more children and
working parents could be left
without day care."
What she and other home
care providers offer is "the in-
timate bonding of the
religious experience,"
Feldman says. Children help
her cook and prepare her
home for the holidays.
While Feldman is licensed,
most people who have day
care in their homes are not,
she said. "Only one of 10
register with the state, which-
means 90 percent are
underground and not on the
referral lists. People find
them by word-of-mouth. But
they are gambling, because
there is no agency scrutiniz-
ing the home.
"When you are licensed, the
state does a police check of
everyone in the home. The
problem is, once you get on
the list, the local
municipalities can say you
are runing an illegal business
in your home."
There are a number of
Jewish day care providers
who are not licensed by the
state. One, Linda (not her real
name), says that she never
bothered to get a license
because "it's no big deal."
Linda and a helper have been
caring for children in her
home for eight years.
"I have an Orthodox home,"
Linda said. "I prepare kosher
meals, and we say the brachas
before the kids eat. At
holidays, we sing songs. We
have circle time and read
books, the babies play, nap,
eat — just what they would do
at home. I asked about licens-
ing once, but it's not a big
deal. It's not a major problem.
A lot of the Orthodox women
are not licensed, and we all
work together and recom-
mend each other. We have
safe, good homes."
As more women return to
work when their children are
very young, the need for
quality day care will grow. It
is a problem being examined
by several Jewish agencies,
including the Jewish Welfare
Day care came to the atten-
tion of the JWF when the
Committee on Identity and
Affiliation was making its
report last year, said planning
director. Larry Ziffer. A sub-
committee on family
recognized the lack of affor-
dable day care in the
"They realized that this
represented a wonderful op-

portunity to impact on
families, and it comes at a
time when we are looking for
ways to bring Jewish ex-
periences to more people?' Zif-
fer said.
"Jewish day care could pro-
vide Jewish experiences for
children, parents, families.
It's one more life-cycle option.
The committee felt that if
families started early, it
would promote Judaism and
enhance family observances.
There can be a linkage
through day care.
"Infant care is the need
that has the least provision in
the Jewish community," Ziffer
added. "At the staff level, we
are working on some ideas.
It's at the draiking board
stage, but we are hoping for a
proposal soon."
Among the ideas being con-
sidered are working to in-
crease the number of homes
in which day care is offered,
Ziffer said. This could involve
providing training for day
care workers and helping to
prepare homes for licensure.
Other plans are being
discussed, but it is too early
to make them public, Ziffer
"This is a national problem,
and there is a lot of literature
being put out by the Council
of Jewish Federations?' Ziffer
said. "We can't do everything
for everybody. But we are hop-
ing to get demonstration
grants so we can set models
up to help improve the situa-
Another agency hoping to
provide more infant care in
the future is the Jimmy Pren-
tis Morris JCC in Oak Park.
JPM is not licensed to care for
children under the age of 3,
said Erma Starr, director of
the program. JPM does not
have bathrooms in the
classrooms, which are re-
quired by the state.
"If we get approval for the
addition to our building, we
will include a child care wing,
and then we may look into in-
fant care," Starr said. "It's an
interesting idea, but with a
ratio of four children to each
staff member, it's a very ex-
pensive operation to run for a
minimal amount of kids. But
it's a wonderful service, and
certainly needed?'
JPM offers an extended day
care program for children
over 3 who are enrolled in its
nursery school, along with a
latchkey program for school-
aged children. Parents of
slightly older children have a
little more luck finding care
for their youngsters. Day care
homes can take four children
older than 21/2 for each adult
(six if there are no infants in
the home), and centers are re-
quried to have at least two

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