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Tuesday, May 2, 2000


"It's very important that we recognize that the United States has done a great job at creating jobs, but we still give far less support to the responsibility of balancing work and family than virtually every other industrialized country in the world. And it is very important to do that."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Teenagers.The conference included parents, teens, policy makers, and other experts who discussed the importance of the teenage years in the social and intellectual development of children, and offered strategies for raising responsible and resourceful youth. The President and the First Lady released a new report outlining trends among teenagers, and announced several new steps the Administration is taking to support America's teens, including an Executive Order barring discrimination against parents in the federal workplace.

SUPPORTING AMERICA'S TEENS. At today's conference, participants highlighted ways in which parents, schools, businesses, the media and others in the larger community can support children during the critical teenage years. The conference included the following:

  • The President released a new report by his Council of Economic Advisers which outlines positive trends as well as challenges for today's teenagers. The report concludes that teens whose parents are involved in their lives are more likely to excel in school and avoid risky behavior.

  • A YMCA poll commissioned for the conference showed that parents are worried about outside influences on their teenagers, while teenagers are concerned about not having enough time with their parents and education.

  • The First Lady highlighted research by the National Institute of Mental Health which indicates that the cognitive portion of the brain goes through a second wave of development just before puberty, suggesting that early adolescence is a critical time of development

  • The President signed an Executive Order barring discrimination against parents in the federal workplace in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, referral, hiring, promotions, discharge, and training

  • The President and the First Lady renewed their call for Congress to pass an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act that would allow eligible workers an additional 24 hours of leave to meet family responsibilities.

  • The President and the First Lady announced several steps to help parents and teens spend more time together:
    • "Time with Your Teens," a new public education campaign to raise awareness about the importance of parent-teen time, including family mealtime;
    • Efforts by the Office of Personnel Management to raise awareness in the federal workplace of family-friendly tools such as flexible work schedules, job sharing, and the use of leave in order to make family time a priority;
    • A public-private task force to help parents and teens find resources through the media and to help parents monitor their teens' use of the media;
    • A joint effort between the federal government and a coalition of prevention campaigns to provide tips for parents on how to best nurture and raise their children to avoid risky behaviors, including drug, alcohol and tobacco use, sex, and violence;
    • A new web site for teenagers - www.americasteens.gov - where teens can find information to help them do their homework, pursue a hobby, or choose a career; and
    • A guide by the Department of Health and Human Services to help improve communications between teenagers and their parents and other caring adults.

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