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Kincare and the American Corporation.

The number of books published in the last two years discussing the corporation's role in providing health and family-related benefits and services indicates the importance of this issue. Increasingly, the employer is expected to become involved in the overall care of the family. Dayle M. Smith's Kincare and the American Corporation approaches the dependent care issue from the standpoint that every business should take a proactive role in easing the burden placed on the employee by family care responsibilities. She feels that there are both moral and profit issues for businesses to consider.

Throughout her work, Smith presents the reader with statistics regarding availability and costs of quality kincare. These statistics indicate the damning effect on society as a whole when children are not provided with a nurturing, supportive environment in the early developmental years. Evidence is also provided that stress related to family care contributes to a less than productive employee. Statistics such as these are not "news;" we have been aware of the growing child care problem in the United States for many years. However, Smith takes a unique approach by putting a face on the statistics through personal accounts of problems facing working parents. She reports the real concerns of a segment of our population through poignant vignettes which provide very interesting reading.

While supplying convincing arguments for the need for better child care and elder care arrangements in our country, Smith admits that many businesses are unwilling to make a commitment to this type of program. Many firms do not give credit to the possible long-term benefits of an investment in kincare programs. The most informative parts of the book are Chapters 6 and 9. In Chapter 6 kincare alternatives and costs are thoroughly discussed. Even though it is obvious from the beginning of the book that Smith is strongly in favor of company sponsored kincare, she approaches each type of kincare arrangement objectively by citing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Chapter 9 is devoted to reports on some of the creative approaches that 100 companies in the United State are taking with regard to the kincare issue. Some of the accounts are brief but provide a rich resource of noteworthy ideas.

The most appropriate audience for this work is practitioners who are involved with the development of employee benefit programs and those who are responsible for policymaking in both the private and public sector. Because of the high level of factual information provided, the book is also a good addition to a collegiate reading list in an employee benefits course. We see our employee benefit dollar buying less service at a time when the employee appears to need an expanding array of programs. The message of Smith's book is very understandable and thought-provoking. It is in the long-term interest of business to come up with more creative ideas for supporting the employee throughout the family life-cycle if these businesses hope to have productive and loyal employees.

Reviewer: Kathleen S. McNichol, MBA, CPCU, Risk Management and Insurance Program, La Salle University.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Risk and Insurance Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:McNichol, Kathleen S.
Publication:Journal of Risk and Insurance
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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