By Jody Heymann
This hard-hitting book draws on the first systematic national research on how the need to meet family obligations is affecting working Americans of all social classes and ethnic groups. What happens when kids get sick? When an elderly parent is hospitalized? How do poor families -- who have been studied in less depth than their middle-class peers -- cope with work-family demands? Jody Heymann's research, documented here in stunning detail, points to a widening gap between working families and the health and development of children. She demonstrates how lack of essential services and support lead to increased school failure, chronic illness, and diminished chance of success for adults and children. Outdated labor policy and practice must be brought into the twenty-first century, argues Heymann. Her findings make it amply clear that we cannot depend on corporations to provide care or to accommodate family needs. We must create a national commitment to childcare (not unlike our mandate for universal education) and a guaranteed safety net for emergency care and special needs. To do less is to abandon the precepts of equal opportunity on which America is founded.