Foundations Column

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The Ford Foundation has committed some $9 million for two interrelated programs aimed at helping men and women balance the needs of work and family.

Plans for the foundation's multi-year effort are described in two new publications, "Early Childhood Services: A National Challenge" and "Work and Family Responsibilities: Achieving a Balance."

According to the documents, nearly three out of five mothers of children under age 6 are now in the labor force. That represents some 9 million children who need care for part of each day while their parents work. By 1995, an estimated 14.6 million preschoolers will require care.

In addition to a growing demand for early-childhood services, the papers argue, changes in the work patterns of men and women will require a closer examination of paid and unpaid family leave, alternative work schedules, and flexible benefit programs.

Objectives of the foundation's "work and family program" will include funding research on the work roles of men and women, helping to disseminate information about model benefit plans and new work arrangements, and assisting in the monitoring of state and federal policies on family benefits.

The related "early-childhood program" will support studies of schools' role in providing early-childhood services; model projects aimed at increasing the availability of family day care for infants and toddlers; and staff training to ensure high-quality child care.

The foundation will emphasize programs that take into account the particular needs of low-income families. Copies of the papers are available without charge from the Ford Foundation, 320 E. 43rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10017.

The Chrysler Corporation Fund has awarded $500,000 to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to help establish a national certification program for elementary and secondary schoolteachers. The new grant brings total funding for the board to $6.6 million. The board is seeking approximately $50 million to support its research-and-development efforts over the next five years.

The American Public Welfare Association has received $500,000 for a two-year effort to devise recommended reforms in the nation's child-welfare system.

The project is governed by a 28-member national commission that includes state human-services commissioners, local administrators, and public child-welfare directors from around the country.

Funding for the project comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the Foundation for Child Development.--lo

Vol. 08, Issue 31

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