WASHINGTON -- After telling horror stories about how thei children were abused and killed by unlicensed day-care providers, a group of angry and impatient mothers implored Congress to put a child-care bill on President Bush's desk before adjourning.
"How many children will have to die before something is done to BTC protect them?" asked a frustrated Mary Anne Moore of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Two years ago, Moore's 5-month-old son died after he was violently shaken by his day-care provider. He was in a coma for two months, she said. The baby sitter faces a manslaughter trial next week.
"I am outraged over the delays in the child-care bill," said Anna Gladmon, a Silver Spring, Md., mother whose year-old daughter suffered life-threatening injuries while in the care of an unlicensed baby sitter. "Congress continues to neglect the needs of children and families while devoting their time and resources to those with strong voices and strong financial backing."
Moore suggested that if children could vote, Congress might sit up and take notice.
Mothers from Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Minnesota and Texas said at a news conference yesterday they were forced to choose unlicensed providers because of a shortage of quality facilities. And those that were available were out of their price range, costing about $5,200 a year, they said.
Responding to criticism that they should stay home and take care of their children, the mothers retorted that if they had their druthers they would do just that. But they said they were forced to work to maintain a decent standard of living for their families.
Comprehensive child-care legislation, first introduced in 1987, has been passed by both the Senate and House. A conference committee has been struggling for months to resolve the differences. Complicating the picture is a Bush threat to veto the legislation.
The legislation would provide grants to states to help parents pay for care and to improve the quality and supply of child-care services. Tax credits would be provided for low-income working families with children.