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© 1995, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Who is caring for families(*) these days? Historically, we've had the notion that families needed to be self-sufficient. But, today, dramatic changes in family structure and family member's employment have shifted this thinking. As family policy educator and researcher Shirley Zimmerman (personal communication, April 26, 1993) states,

"increasingly it is recognized that the well-being of families is dependent on the functioning of other societal institutions, such as government and business. For this reason, government is taking an expanding interest in the role of the private sector, namely business and industry, for ensuring the health and economic security of workers and their families."

As the power of organized labor has declined and employers have cut costs by eliminating many benefit practices, lawmakers seek to respond to the gap at both the federal and state levels (Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies, 1989). This, however, is not enough. Today, the private sector--business/industry--is being pushed to respond as well. This publication has been written primarily to help families and business owners focus on the need for private sector involvement in promoting family well-being and secondly, how citizens can influence the processes.