Your Sept. 3 editorial, "Is Utah welfare reform working," comments: "Where do those 200,000 people who leave the welfare rolls each month wind up? Ideally they all now have decent jobs." No, ideally they don't all have decent jobs. Ideally, single parents with infants and small children who choose to stay at home and care for their children are doing so. What a crazy world we live in where government rules force parents to scramble for decent day care when the child's natural baby sitter, the parent, is already available. Not even the very best baby sitters possess the same natural affections for a child as the child's own parents.

The No. 1 priority of welfare reform should be to keep families together, especially when small children are involved. Instead, we impose job requirements that tear mothers from their children, wounding the tender hearts of both. Taxes are so high that both parents in some homes are now forced to seek employment (a small sacrifice we must make for the sake of state and local politicians obsessed with funding monuments to their everlasting glory.)There is nothing dignified about accepting a government-mandated job. Individual dignity is not a function of sub-or-di-nat-ing oneself to the will of one's employer. Dignity is achieved when the individual becomes in actuality what the individual was created to be, whatever that might be. Caring for one's own children at home is an infinitely more "decent job" than anything one may be forced to do.

Bryan Norton

Salt Lake City