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Federal programs designed to improve the health and education of children have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run, a new report by the House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families concludes.

The report synthesizes existing research on eight programs initiated during the Great Society era, including Chapter 1 aid to disadvantaged children, Head Start, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, and the Job Corps. According to the committee, the research "demonstrates the proven success and cost-effectiveness" of federal efforts to help impoverished children.

"The fact is that we already know enough to use public policy to benefit children, and to do so in a way that returns funds to the federal treasury," the committee said. "We have not, however, reached millions of the children who are eligible for, and could benefit from, these programs."

Most of the programs included in the study have been targeted at various times by the Reagan Administration for budget reductions, conversion to block grants, or outright elimination.

Each of three major tax-reform proposals before the Congress would benefit families with children, but low- and middle-income families with child-care expenses are better off under current law, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by the House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, analyzes the impact of tax reform on seven types of families.

According to the study, the Reagan Administration plan, rates as most favorable to families with children overall, and is most fair to low-income families, while a plan sponsored by Senator Bill Bradley and Representative Richard A. Gephardt, both Democrats, is fairest to average-income families and married couples in general. Large families, single-parent families, and families with two earners would benefit most from a plan sponsored by Republican lawmakers Jack F. Kemp and Bob Kasten.

But according to the study, "each proposal is worse than current law in providing support for average- and low-income families using child care," with the result that "most families using child care will have fewer resources to meet this expense."

Current tax law, however, was rated least equitable for families overall. According to the report, the average American family with children pays more than $7,000 in taxes each year, more than half of which goes to the federal government.

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