ALL OUR CHILDREN: The American Family Under Pressure by Kenneth & The Carnegie Council on Children Keniston
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ALL OUR CHILDREN: The American Family Under Pressure

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the Carnegie Council on Children, an ambitious, provocative report that proposes a radical overhaul of public policies toward children. Because families have changed both in function and power to raise children unaided, and because a family's economic position is ""the single most powerful determinant of the opportunities open"" to its members, the Council argues for a national commitment to full employment, a program of income supplements, and adoption of more flexible, family-oriented work practices. Government intervention is, of course, pivotal to the scheme. As detailed here, this reordering would guarantee a job to every head of household as well as health care and other essential services to all families--a plan which, along with a modified tax code, would especially benefit families earning less than $18,000 a year. This is no modest proposal: such child-centered recommendations are not the usual band-aid solutions to low reading scores and food additives but attempts to acknowledge the major influences in a child's life and revise priorities accordingly. Using previously available research, the Council considers a broad range of issues, relating low self-esteem to the labor market and confronting the ramifications of our technologies--e.g., financial responsibility for the disabled children of chemical workers. Their suggestions are predicated on the assumption that, given a choice, parents will choose what's best for their children--a contention wide open to debate. And many outside the nuclear family circle--childless couples, singles, gays--may well speculate on their position in this new arrangement. But regardless of flaws, oversights, or even the arguable premise, this is not a report to ignore: its proponents--social workers, doctors, lawyers, professors--are articulate child advocates wrestling with some of our most urgent problems, and they deserve a hearing.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1977
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich