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Addressing the Needs of Children and Youth

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Addressing the Needs of Children and Youth

While parents have the primary responsibility for raising their children, we all have a role in helping our nation's young people to achieve their full potential. Mrs. Clinton has used her voice as First Lady to remind Americans of our responsibility for helping all our children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

As the Administration's most prominent advocate on foster care and adoption, Mrs. Clinton has worked on behalf of the over 500,000 children who live in foster care because of abuse or neglect. She has promoted the adoption of children living in foster care and worked for passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, landmark legislation which reformed our nation's child welfare system by putting considerations of children's health and safety first.

Mrs. Clinton has also taken a special interest in educating Americans about the importance of children's earliest experiences to their future development. In 1997, she hosted the White House Conference on Early Childhood Development and Learning: What New Research on the Brain Tells Us About Our Youngest Children. She has worked for Head Start expansion and quality improvements and successfully advocated for increased funding for programs serving young children. In 1997, the First Lady launched the Prescription for Reading Partnership in which pediatricians and other health professionals “prescribe” reading to new parents as an activity that will enhance children's development.

Mrs. Clinton has also directed her attention to our nation's youth, encouraging the development of positive opportunities for young people and ways to help them avoid substance abuse, teen pregnancy and delinquency. She helped to launch the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and hosted the 1998 White House Conference on School Safety: Causes and Prevention of Youth Violence and participated in the recent White House Strategy Meeting on Children, Violence and Responsibility. The First Lady was also instrumental in the development of the AmeriCorps National Service Program through which young people may perform a year of full-time service in exchange for scholarships or student loan forgiveness.

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Addressing the Needs of Children and Youth

Early Childhood Development

Foster Care & Adoption


National Service