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Road Through Time

by Mary Soderstrom

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Monday, 18 August 2014

You'd Think Nobody Cared about the Kids: Why the Working Poor's Kids Are Short-Changed

 The New York Times recently had a story about a young single mother working at Starbucks who is having a terrible time coordinating her very changeable work schedule and child care.  "Working Anything but 9 to 5" was the headline, which sounds far to flip for a really tragic situation.  Relying on family members to pick up the slack was not working out, and the woman is at her wit's end.  Starbuck's management says the scheduling software they use should not cause such problems, but it's clear that on the store level nobody gives a damn.

I was saddened when I read the story, but I was even more upset when I came across a series that The Huffington Post is running: The American Nightmare.  Over the last few months, people who are on the edge have been telling their stories which are far from pretty.  We're talking hear about people who are frequently educated and articulate, but who are worn out and ground down by poverty. 

And who is taking the biggest hit? The kids, who are not getting the kind of attention they need from their parents, who sometimes aren't even getting enough to eat.

Things are marginally better in Canada, particularly in Quebec.  At least affordable day care is a reality, although the govenrment just announced that it is going to cut special grants to day cares in poor neighborhoods for the kind of support services that kids from poor families sometimes need.  


Back in the days of the Cold War, I thought the slogan "War is not healthy for children or other living things" eloquently put the problem in proper perspective.  Perhaps we need a campaign along the same lines to keep kids from suffering from our collective lack of concern for their future.

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