Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on June 1, 1982 · Page 17
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 17

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 1, 1982
Page 17
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REPUBLIC ANN! i C., The Arizona Republic 15) fC$t QU ' ' ' ' " Tuesday, June 1, 1982 O . ; jQ Ijjl) j IT. ,.-. , II 1 11 I I rA spot check with some employers . showed a definite interest' mpanles-experim child-care centers By Joy Coolidge Republic Staff A handful of Arizona businesses and institutions are beginning to help employees deal with the problems of child care, and many other companies are watching. .It is an idea that is attracting attention nationally because of the escalating number of women in the work force. Many of them are single parents; others are working because the family needs two incomes. " Either way, child care is a problem. In January, Circle K Corp. opened a center for the children of its employees and those of its related companies at its Phoenix headquarters. St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center in Tucson and Boswell Memorial Hospital in Sun City are building on-site centers which will open in the fall. Bashas' Markets is establishing a neighborhood network of child-care homes for its workers. Concerned about the child-care crisis, the Governor's Council on Children, Youth and Families convened a special task force in October 1981 to study the gap between the number of day-care spaces available and children needing care in Arizona. "A spot check with some employers before the task force was formed showed a definite interest but a lack of information on available child-care systems," said Grace Schmidt, executive director of the council. "It's a new idea that the private sector is approaching cautiously. There was a need for a committee to put together information on available options and costs." ' The task force, chaired by attorney Chuck Case, Comprised representatives from 16 major companies in Phoenix and Tucson. Its report concluded that Arizona jbusiness and industry shares responsibility with working "parents for the child-care needs of their employees. ! "It's surprising what business can do to help take the aggravation of finding quality child care out of the lives of itheir employees," Case said. "There are numerous Options for employer-sponsored child care. The choice of which one will be economically feasible and most -satisfactory for all concerned depends on the needs within the company. ' "-"''An employer can buy blocks of slots at a nearby child-care center, perhaps at a discount, and sell them to each of his employees at a further discount. He can issue vouchers for a given amount of money at a center of the French industry is experienced as baby sitter By Olive Evans New York TimeR "j PARIS They arrive early in the morning, the older ones trudging up the stairs holding a parent's hand, the babies peering over a parent's shoulder. But when the moment comes for the parents to leave, there is rarely an outcry because, in a sense, they have come to their other home. Five days a week between 6:30 and 9 a.m., 120 children ranging in age from 10 months to 3 years arrive to spend their parents' working hours at the Creche Renault, the .largest day-care center in France. It is operated by a 3Jhmittee of the various unions in the vast automobile ; company owned by the French government, the first major French industry to be nationalized, snortly alter .World War II. The creche, opened in 1952, is a few blocks from the . largest Renault plant, which employs 23,000 workers, in Boulogne-Billancourt on the western outskirts of Paris. ;Tjhe building's businesslike facade, on the busy commercial Avenue General Leclerc, hides a parklike -play area behind it, as well as a host of human services calculated to promote the well-being of the babies and Sddlers' who spend much of their lives there. mTive moyem, children aged 14 months to 16 months, , were lunching one morning at a round child-height table in the airy room where they spend their days playing, eating and napping when they are not in the garden it looks out on. Far from institutional, the room was decorated with animal mobiles and cutouts and had all the appurtenances of a well-equipped nursery. The 'iypungsters were wearing a variety of printed coveralls tnto which they must be changed by their parents on arrival. They were experimenting with using spoons, but the tactile approach seemed still much in favor. Each child's bib was extended from neck to table, forming a place mat and also catching misaimed ground meat, vegetables or potatoes. "This is the age when they touch everything, employee's choice, join with other firms to develop a daycare center, provide an on-site facility or help to establish a family day-care network." The task force report, based on 1980 census figures, estimates that there are about 127,400 children less than 6 years of age and about 178,850 school-age children whose parents are working in Arizona. A 1980 poll of parents of students in Osborn School District showed that 70 percent of the children came from either single-parent households or families with two working parents. There are 640 licensed day-care centers in Arizona, with a capacity for more than 42,000 children. In addition, there are 1,500 voluntarily certified day-care homes with a capacity for 3,750 children. Subtracting day-care slots from children theoretically in need of care leaves 196,650 children who may be candidates for other kinds of child-care arrangements. Some members on the task force represented companies that had taken substantial looks in the past at employer-assisted or employer-sponsored child care. Valley National Bank had carried out several studies of child-care assistance and Motorola had studied development of an on-site facility 10 years ago. "A study made in 1972 indicated on-site child care would cost more than one and a half million dollars a year to operate," said Chuck Debow, director of Employee-Relations for Motorola Inc. and a member of the task ; force. "Since that time many other child-care systems have been developed which make some form of company-sponsored assistance an economical possiblity. "Our corporate people constantly explore a host of programs that could be included in the company benefit package," he said. "They have not said yes or no to the idea of incorporating child-care assistance in the package." Debow said some considerations that surfaced in the 10-year-old study are still valid. The fact that the firm has several plant locations in the Valley poses a problem for an on-site facility. Then there is concern about equity among employees; day care or financial assistance would help only a part of the work force. "The cafeteria approach to benefits, allowing ' employees to select the benefits they wish to receive, is a way around that problem, he said. Edgar J. Huffman, assistant vice president and manager of corporate cost analysis for Valley National Bank was & consultant to the task force. He said, "Employee benefits are for most corporations the fastest rising costs that they are incurring. For every dollar paid in salary, an additional 28 cents goes toward the benefit package. "About 65 percent of the bank employees are women, an indication that we'd be a very good candidate for some type of child-care assistance, but a survey among the employees indicated it was a low-priority item. Cutbacks in public assistance could lead to changes in the employee attitudes toward corporate child-care systems," he said. "This is not a time when businesses are eager to make new commitments. In the current economic conditions most firms are looking to control employee-related expenses," he said. "They are also concerned with potential administrative tangles of an on-site facility, and laws which could be subject to frequent changes on the part of the local, state and federal regulators." Huffman said regulatory changes in the past have greatly increased the cost of child care. "The adoption of regulatory stand-still or grandfather clauses would assist corporations in planning for future child-care projects," he said. Bashas' Markets, which was not represented on the committee, turned away from the on-site concept because there was an insufficient number of small children in need of the service to warrant the cost of constructing a building. The grocery firm is developing a community ' network of family homes that will accommodate the children of working parents in its employ. "We did a needs assessment of our personnel and the results showed there were not a sufficient number of small children to warrant the construction of a on-site child-care facility," said Eddie Basha, chairman of the board at Bashas'. "I was surprised to find there were only six children of Phoenix-area employees who were of an age to use such a facility. Because of length of service our employee profile showed that most of them have older children and we hire a lot of part-timers and students. "A network of homes is the alternative and we have appointed a firm, Contemporary Ventures in Child Care Inc., to set it up," he said. "Fee arrangements have not been determined, but they will be reasonable I'm sure. If the pilot program in Phoenix is successful we may make it a statewide operation. The scarcity of competent health-care personnel is a continuing problem for hospitals all across the nation, causing them to incorporate child-care assistance as a recruitment incentive. Doctors Hospital has no provisions in its budget for child care, but it does refer parents to commercial centers that have offered to grant their employees a discount St Mary's Hospital and Health Center in Tucson is v" ' renovating an existing building on its grounds to meet ' " state licensing regulations. The child-care center will ' , accommodate only the children of day-shift employees. "Our purpose is to recruit and maintain staff, a consideration that outweighed cost factors. We have the lowest turnover of any hospital in the state and we want to keep it that way," said Tony Bongiovannie, the hospital's division director of human resources. "The necessity for dual family incomes isn't going to go away. Employers need to bend with the times and cooperate with working parents in helping them find superior child care if they expect to keep a long-term staff." .. , . Bongiovannie said that a large percentage of the . -hospital staff were working mothers but that the child-,.,' care program would be available to men who were single ' ; parents or whose wives worked where no such benefit was provided. A needs survey among the personnel at Boswell Memorial Hospital revealed that the parents of 91 children, newborn to 6 years old, would be interested in placing their children in an on-site child-care center. Survey responses indicated 40 percent of the parents were using the services of grandparents or other relatives while they work and 60 percent placed their children in commercial day-care centers. The construction of an on-site prefabricated building will be completed by the first week in September. The program will be open round-the-clock, seven days a week to accommodate all shifts. The service will provide programs individualized for each child. "There are no qualified day-care centers in the vicinity that are open 24 hours a day, which has made it impossible for many working mothers to accept . employment at Boswell," said President W.A. Turner: "A non-profit venture, it will be offered to employees at a" reasonable fee." One bright spot that may encourage industries to a statewide operation." Care, B7 jJir. .. ; .iij. v when they need to develop a knowledge of the world around them," said Gilberte Garcia, who is an aide-maternelle, with 21 years at the creche. After lunch the children spent five minutes or so on the toilet The idea, Mrs. Garcia explained to a visitor, was "to get them used to it" Then it was nap time, and each child went to a cot with his or her name affixed. By 11:45 a.m., as soft classical music was piped in, everyone on the third floor seemed to be snoozing. Everyone, that is, except the year-old and wide-eyed Laurent, who was being carried around by Messa Amdaoud, an aide-maternelle. "He comes at 8:30 so he's not sleepy yet," she explained. "The others come very early so they are tired by now. 'Laurent, isn't it time for you to be asleep?'" Laurent shook his head with a decided non. M.wa.Uaai Another child was sleeping soundly in a small cubicle off the corridor. "Some children, especially only children, sleep better apart from the others," Miss Amdaoud said. Do they miss their mothers? "They dont realize the absence of their mothers because they are together in a community, said Julie Correia, an aide-mateme!le whose 20-month-old son, Jonathan, is in the creche. "And they have things going on around them to interest them." As they get older,, the children move from one room to another, and from aides-maternelles to educatrices. To ease the change, the staff members with whom they will soon be involved drop in from time to time. "Everybody gets to see each other often, to make it less difficult later," said Madeleine Besnard, secretary of the creche. Although there was a good deal of washing of hands and faces, baths are not given at the creche. "The bath is Patti ValdezRepublic very important for contact between the mother and ; , K baby," Mrs. Besnard explained. ,:i Children of married employees who earn up to 16,000 ? francs (about $2,700) a month jointly are eligible for the creche. Parents pay according to their salaries. With a -joint income of 11,450 francs (about $1,930) a month, a . couple would pay 47 francs (about $8) a day; cost to the -committee is 150 francs per child per day. A 15-franc-a- : day subsidy is provided by the local government z :. Admission is contingent on a physical examination by-" the creche pediatrician, who is on hand four days a week. A psychologist had been regularly available but was ' 'j eliminated because of lack of funds, Mrs. Besnard " explained. "But it will be reviewed," she said. In the absence of a psychologist, problems perceived by the staff Sitter, B7 ; 'I came out here because I couldn't deal i with people, not because I was strong' Colorado mountain is home for a thoroughly modern hermit By Jennifer Parmelee AHKOciaUd Press ; GOTHIC, Colo. - The strain of Billy 1 Barr's classical guitar echoes through the ramshackle wooden buildings clustered under Gothic Mountain. It is the only sound that spells human life in this once flourishing silver-mining town. And the;31-year-old Barr is the only "permanent" resident. Others have come and gone, but he remains, living about 6 miles from the nearest telephone and without a toilet or hot water. Barr is considered an eccentric by some ; residents of the nearby Crested Butte ski ; resort, and a folk hero to others. But to all, he i is the hermit of Gothic. He sits in the frame house he built himself, in Colorado's forbidding but breathtaking backcountry, telling a visitor that it was his "romantic soul" that drove him deep into the wilderness and made him stay. "I came out here because I couldn't deal with people, not because I was strong," he says quietly, tugging on his sandy beard. "I still have the romantic ideals that caused hell for me in the city, but you're allowed to have those out here," he said. "You don't have to put up with having your ideals destroyed constantly." The only way to reach Barr's hilltop home in winter is to strap on cross-country skis and make the 4-mile trek from where the dirt road out of town turns into snow. The trail is deserted. It winds along the rugged edge of the East River canyon in the Elk Mountain range in central Colorado, the heart of avalanche country. where the hillsides that stretch above the path often are stripped of trees where snowslides have barreled down before. Barr is employed by the U.S. Forest Service during winter months to monitor avalanches in three valleys in the area, which he says is hit by between 400 and 500 snowslides every year. He also works for the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, which staffs a high-altitude study center during the summer months. He earns less than $5,000 a year. And once a year he uses some of that money for a month's vacation to his hometown of Trenton, N J.; ' Ten summers ago, Barr arrived in Colorado on a Rutgers University field study program for a degree in environmental science. He decided that Gothic was where he wanted to spend the rest of h,U life. He climbed to a nearby mountain peak the day he made that decision and sat in the waning daylight thinking about how, if he were back in New Jersey, he would be , preparing to go out on a Friday night worrying about "finding the right woman." The first eight years in Gothic were spent in a tiny wooden shack where Ban always knew which way the wind was coming from because it blew right through the house. Today he lives in comparative luxury in two . sun-filled rooms. He has a solar cell providing electricity, a wood-burning stove for her t and an extensive root cellar where he stores carrots, potatoes, eggs and other durable foods. ..' A music stand sits in one corner and shelves are stocked with tapes, magazines and books. "I hibernate in the winter, but I start to get this urge to socialize in the spring," he says. Once or twice a month he hikes into town, and friends visit with some regularity. Loneliness has never been a problem, he says. But his days of living in relative isolation could be numbered. The Crested Butte ski area hopes to open a ski resort on Snodgrass Mountain, just down the valley from Gpthic For the time being, though, his world is secure. "It's a very safe life out here," he says. "Sure it's sometimes hard to get into town with these high winds, and (there's the) danger of avalanches," he said. "But for me, that's nothing compared with - driving in Denver traffic."

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