To the editor:

After many years of good work on family issues, Sen. Orrin Hatch has caved into Senate liberals at a critical time for the future of the American family.The federal government is now considering two child-care plans that representopposite philosophies.

President Bush has proposed helping families with their child-care expenses by giving an income tax credit to all families with preschool children - whether the children are in day care or not.

This plan would help low-income families who need to put their children in day-care centers. It would also help families who are struggling to get along on one income and to take care of their own children.

Liberal Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, on the other hand, has been working for years on the so-called "Act for Better Child-Care," which subsidizes only families who put their children in day-care centers.

In the past, he was willing to pay only for day care designed according to government standards. Now, as a compromise with conservatives, Dodd has proposed abill that would pay for day care provided by relatives or neighbors as well as by institutions.

But Dodds bill still gives nothing to families who take care of their own children - though this often requires much greater economic sacrifices than puttingyour children in day care.

Hatch who has always opposed the "Act for Better Child-Care," has reversed his position and has co-sponsored this discriminatory, anti-family bill. He is now the most important person standing in the way of President Bush's pro-family approach to child care.

The bill Hatch supports is only one of many federal policies that discriminate against families who take care of their own children.

Charles Siegel

Alliance for Our Children