Working for Children and Families

PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:

Working for Children and Families

 

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Working Families

Highest Median Family Income in History. Since the President launched his economic plan in 1993, median family income is the highest it has ever been. The typical familyís income is up over $6,300 since 1993. Income for median households rose $1,072, or 2.7 percent, from $39,744 in 1998 to $40,816 in 1999, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income and the first time in history household income rose above $40,000.

Largest One-Year Drop in Child Poverty in More than Three Decades. While the child poverty rate remains too high, in 1999 it declined from 18.9 percent to 16.9 percent -- the lowest rate since 1979 and the largest one-year decline since 1966. Under President Clinton, the child poverty rate has declined from 22.7 percent to 16.9 percent, a reduction of 25.6 percent, which is the biggest six-year drop in nearly 30 years (1964-1970).

Tax Cuts for Working Families. 15 million additional working families received additional tax relief because of the Presidentís expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 1999, the EITC lifted 4.1 million people out of poverty Ė double the number lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. This year, the President proposed expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to an additional 6.8 million hard-pressed working families.

Won Passage of the $500 Child Tax Credit. President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for and won a $500 child tax credit for 27 million families with 45 million children under age 17. Twelve million children from families with income below $30,000 will receive the child tax credit as a result of the Presidentís efforts.

Increased the Minimum Wage. The minimum wage has risen from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour. This year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called on Congress to pass an additional $1.00 per hour increase in the minimum wage.

Highest Homeownership Rate in History. The homeownership rate reached 67.2 percent in the second quarter of 2000 -- the highest ever recorded. In contrast, the homeownership rate fell from 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 1981 to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 1993. There are almost 9 million more homeowners than in 1993.

Providing Incentives to Save. President Clinton signed legislation creating Individual Development Accounts, providing incentives for low-income families to save for a first home, higher education, or to start a new business, a key part of his 1992 community empowerment agenda. In FY 1999, $10 million was awarded to establish savings accounts for over 10,000 low-income workers in 40 communities, and an additional $10 million will be awarded in FY 2000. The Presidentís budget provides $25 million for IDAs in FY 2001 and proposes to allow low-income working families to use IDAs to save for a car that will allow them to get or keep a job. [White House Fact Sheet, 10/27/98, White House Fact Sheet, 2/23/00]

Creating New Tools to Help Families Move from Welfare to Work. Since enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law, millions of families have moved from welfare to work. With the Presidentís leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included $3 billion to move long-term welfare recipients and low-income non-custodial fathers into jobs. To fully implement this initiative, the President's FY 2001 budget allows grantees an additional two years to spend Welfare-to-Work funds. It also proposes $255 million for Fathers Work/Families Win grants to promote responsible fatherhood and support working families. The Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire long-term welfare recipients. The Presidentís Access to Jobs initiative helps communities design innovative transportation solutions, such as van services, to help former welfare recipients and other low-income workers get to work, and this year the President is proposing $150 million for this initiative, double last year's level. President Clinton has secured 110,000 new housing vouchers in the last two years to help welfare recipients and hard-pressed working families move closer to job opportunities, and this year he is proposing $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers.

Helping Parents Build Strong Families

Helping Parents Balance Work and Family. The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- the first piece of legislation the President signed into law -- enables workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. Since its enactment, millions of Americans have benefited from FMLA, and the President has expanded leave options for Federal employees. President Clinton has called for extending this benefit to 12 million more working families and expanding the law to allow workers to take leave for family obligations such as doctors appointments and parent-teacher conferences. Additionally, in his FY 2001 budget, the President is proposing new grants to enable states and regions to develop innovative paid leave options for working parents.

Banning Discrimination Against Parents. At the White House Conference on Teenagers in May 2000, President Clinton announced that he signed an Executive Order to bar discrimination against parents in the federal workplace. The Order would bar discrimination against parents in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, referral, hiring, promotions, discharge, and training.

Promoting Responsible Fatherhood. Marking the first Father's Day of the 21st Century, President Clinton announced new actions to promote responsible fatherhood. The President released a new report that provides communities with information and tools to increase fathersí involvement in their childrenís learning, and directed federal agencies to develop guidance on federal resources and opportunities for promoting responsible fatherhood in communities around the country. This will help the growing number of states, local governments, community- and faith-based organizations, and fatherhood practitioners working to help fathers address issues such as employment, parenting, and child support.

Protecting Kids on the Internet. In May 1999, Vice President Gore announced the Parents' Protection Page, an important new commitment by Internet companies to give parents the resources to protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet. The Parents' Protection Page will provide parents with the tools and knowledge to supervise and guide their children's online activities. [White House, Office of the Vice President, 5/5/99]

Signed the V-Chip into Law. In 1995, President Clinton and Vice President Gore called for passage of V-chip legislation to give parents new tools to screen out television programs they believe are inappropriate for their children. With strong leadership from the White House, the following year saw Congress enact the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which included legislation requiring the installation of anti-violence screening chips in all new televisions. [Telecommunications Act of 1996, PL 104-104, 2/8/96]

Giving Families A New Tool -- A Content-Based Television Ratings System. Striving to protect children from violence and adult content on television, the President and Vice President garnered a breakthrough agreement from the television industry to create a content-based voluntary ratings system. The new system went into effect October 1, 1997, giving parents the information they need to determine if TV shows are appropriate for viewing by their children and identifying which programs they want to block from their homes with the V-chip. The voluntary rating system includes age- and content-based ratings. [Statement by the President, 2/29/96]

Hosted the White House Conference on Childrenís Television. In July 1996, the President and Vice President convened the White House Conference on Childrenís Television to improve and expand education television for children. Conference participants included parents, industry representatives, advocates, experts and advertisers. At the Conference, President Clinton announced that the four major television networks, the National Association of Broadcasters, and some of the leading advocates for educational television had joined with him to support a new proposal requiring broadcasters to air three hours of quality educational programming a week. This proposal fulfills the promise of the Children's Television Act -- that television should serve the educational and informational needs of young people -- while giving broadcasters flexibility in how to meet those needs. [AP 7/29/96; Statement by the President, 7/29/96]

Caring For Our Children

Improved Access to Affordable, Quality Child Care and Early Childhood Programs. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, federal funding for child care has more than doubled, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.5 million children in 1998, and the1996 welfare reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion over six years to provide child care assistance to families moving from welfare to work. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for the Head Start program by 90 percent, and in FY 2000, the program will serve approximately 880,000 children Ė over 160,000 more children than in 1993. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have proposed a $817 million increase in FY 2001 for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which helps working families struggling to afford child care. These new funds, combined with the child care funds provided in welfare reform, will enable the program to serve over 2.2 million children in 2001.

Held First-Ever White House Conferences on Early Child Development and Learning; on Child Care; and on Teenagers. In April 1997, the President and First Lady held the White House Conference on Early Child Development and Learning to highlight the benefits of early nurturing by parents. And in October 1997, the White House Conference on Child Care began a dialogue on the child care challenges facing parents today -- availability, affordability, and assuring safety and quality. In May 2000, the President and First Lady hosted the White House Conference on Teenagers, which brought together parents, teens, policy makers and other experts to discuss strategies for raising responsible and resourceful youth.

Mobilizing Service and Volunteers on Behalf of Children. President Clinton convened the President's Summit on America's Future, which helped focus attention on the importance of service and on the challenges our children face. Vice President Gore, former Presidents Bush and Carter, and General Colin Powell all participated in the summit, which brought together over 2,000 people from around the country. At the summit, hundreds of organizations, including federal agencies, made commitments to give children the resources they need to grow up to be healthy and productive citizens -- a mentor, a healthy start, a safe place, a marketable skill through an effective education, and a chance to serve. President Clinton also announced the creation of 50,000 new scholarships to increase the reach of the AmeriCorps program.

Signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act. The Adoption and Safe Families Act, which was based in large part on the recommendations of the Clinton-Gore Administration's Adoption 2002 report, made sweeping changes in adoption law so that thousands of children in foster care move more quickly into safe and permanent homes. In 1998, 36,000 children in foster care were adopted, up from 28,000 in 1996. This is the first significant increase in adoption since the national foster care program was established nearly 20 years ago.

Using the Internet to Increase Adoptions. President Clinton has set a goal of doubling the number of adoptions and other permanent placements from the public child welfare system by 2002. To help reach that goal, in November 1998 the President directed the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to link children in foster care more quickly with possible adoptive families. HHS will launch a national web site by September 2001 to break down geographic barriers to adoption. [Presidential Memorandum, 11/24/98]

Enacted the Foster Care Independence Act. Nearly 20,000 young people leave foster care each year when they reach age 18 without an adoptive family or other guardian. The Foster Care Independence Act will ensure that those young people will get the tools they need to make the most of their lives by providing them better educational opportunities, access to health care, training, housing assistance, counseling, and other services.

Child Abuse Declines for Five Years in a Row. In a trend which began five years ago, the number of children abused and neglected has decreased approximately 11 percent from a record 1,018,692 in 1993. While this represents progress, President Clinton and Vice President Gore continue to work to protect the health and well-being of America's children, and ending child abuse. [HHS Press Release, 4/10/00]

Improving Children's Health

Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965. The five year, $24 billion State Childrenís Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will provide health care coverage for up to five million children. Two million children have already been enrolled, and in October 1999 President Clinton announced new outreach initiatives to enroll millions more uninsured, eligible children. Last year, the President launched a nationwide "Insure Kids Now" campaign that will bring together major TV and radio networks, healthcare organizations, religious groups and other community-based organizations to help enroll more children in the Children's Health Insurance Program, with the goal of enrolling 5 million of the estimated 10 million children eligible for health insurance under CHIP within 5 years. This year, the budget includes several of Vice President Gore's proposals to accelerate enrollment of children in CHIP. The President is also proposing a new FamilyCare program, which would give States the option to cover parents in the same plan as their children.

Raised Immunization Rates to All Time High. President Clinton established a Childhood Immunization Initiative to ensure vaccinations and healthy futures for all children. Since 1993, childhood immunization rates have reached all-time highs, with 90 percent or more of America's toddlers receiving the most critical doses of vaccines for children by age 2. For the most critical childhood vaccines, vaccination levels are nearly the same for preschool children of all racial and ethnic groups, narrowing a gap that was estimated to be as wide as 26 percentage points a generation ago. With childhood vaccination levels at an all-time high, disease and death from diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and Hib are at or near record lows. [HHS Fact Sheet, 9/23/99; HHS Fact Sheet, 12/31/99]

Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). President Clinton won over $4 billion for nutrition assistance to millions of women, infants, and children through the WIC program, an increase of $108 million over FY 1999. The additional funds will allow the program to provide a monthly package of nourishing supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals to 7.3 million low-income women, infants and children who are at nutritional risk -- 1.4 million more people than in 1993. Research shows that every $1 increase in the prenatal care portion of the WIC program cuts between $1.77 and $3.90 in medical expenses in the first 60 days following childbirth.

Teen Births Down to the Lowest Rate on Record. The teen birth rate has fallen eight years in a row, dropping 20 percent from 1991 to 1999 to the lowest rate in the 60 years data on teen births have been recorded. The teen pregnancy rate is also at the lowest rate on record. To build on this progress, the President's budget includes funding for "second chance homes" for teen parents. [Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, "Births: Preliminary Data for 1999," 8/8/00; White House Office of the Press Secretary, 08/12/00]

Standing Up to the Tobacco Industry. The President and Vice President developed and implemented the first-ever plan to protect our children from tobacco, including: proposing to hold the tobacco industry accountable by charging the tobacco industry an assessment for every underage smoker and increasing the price of cigarettes by 25 cents a pack; urging Congress to grant FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products, prohibit advertising aimed at children and curb minorsí access to tobacco products; pursuing the suit filed against the tobacco industry by the Justice Department to recover the federal costs of smoking-related illnesses; advocating that states use tobacco settlement money for tobacco prevention and control; and helping people to quit by proposing a smoking cessation program for Medicaid.

Ensuring that Prescription Drugs are Tested for Children. President Clinton directed an important Food and Drug Administration regulation requiring manufacturers to do studies on pediatric populations for new prescription drugs -- and those currently on the market -- to ensure that prescription drugs have been adequately tested for the unique needs of children.

Investing in Education

Providing Early Education to Nearly 900,000 Children with Head Start. The President and Vice President have expanded Head Start funding by 90 percent since 1993. Head Start will reach approximately 880,000 low-income children in FY 2000 and, with the President's proposed increase for the program, will be on the way to reaching the President's goal of serving one million children and their families by the year 2002. The Administration also created Early Head Start, bringing Head Start's successful comprehensive services to families with children ages zero to three, and set high quality standards for both programs.

More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. The Clinton-Gore Administration won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the Presidentís plan to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. Already, 29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year's budget provides $1.75 billion, a $450 million increase -- enough to fund nearly 49,000 teachers.

Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students now benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards through Title I-Aid to Disadvantaged Students. The FY 2000 budget provides a $134 million accountability fund to help turn around the worst performing schools and hold them accountable for results through such measures as overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing schools and reopening them as charter schools. This year, the President is proposing to double funding for this fund to turn around the nation's failing schools to ensure all children receive a quality education.

Teaching Every Child to Read. The President challenged Americans to unite to be sure that every child can read well and independently by the third grade. More than 1,400 colleges and universities joined the President's America Reads Challenge, and 26,700 college work-study students now serve as reading tutors to help every child to read well and independently by the third grade. [Education Department, Challenging the Status Quo: The Education Record, 1993-2000, 4/00]

Established the GEAR UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created and expanded GEAR UP, a nationwide mentoring initiative, to help over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare for college. GEAR UP will expand mentoring efforts by states and provide new grants to partnerships of middle schools, institutions of higher education, and community organizations, to provide intensive early intervention services to help prepare over 750,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college. The President's FY 2001 budget would expand services to 1.4 million students with a 63 percent increase.

Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY 2000. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled from FY 1999 to FY 2000. For FY 2001, the President's budget calls on Congress to invest $1 billion in the 21st Century Program and to ensure that all children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities. This proposal will double funding and nearly triple the number of students served to 2.5 million.

Making Schools and Neighborhoods Safer

Helping Communities Put 100,000 More Police on the Streets. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund an additional 100,000 police officers for our communities. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced a distressed neighborhood grant program to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, in fall 1999, the President won funding for the first installment toward his goal to hire up to 50,000 more officers by 2005. This year, the Clinton-Gore budget includes over $1 billion to continue the successful COPS initiative to hire more officers, hire new community prosecutors, give police the tools and technology they need to fight crime, and to fund community-wide crime fighting efforts. [Justice Department, COPS Program, 5/12/99; National Economic Council, 11/18/99; FY 2001 Budget, p. 109]

More Police Officers in Schools. President Clinton and Vice President Gore's community policing grants have been used to fund over 2,600 police officers to work in schools to help improve school safety. These officers are strengthening partnerships between local law enforcement and schools, and help them to focus on school crime, drug use and discipline problems.

Protecting Children from Sex Offenders. President Clinton signed Meganís Law and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, requiring states to set up sex offender registration systems and require community notification when sex offenders are released from prison. [White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 5/17/96]

Keeping Guns Out of Our Nation's Schools. In October 1994, President Clinton signed into law the Gun-Free Schools Act, and issued a Presidential Directive to enforce "zero tolerance" for guns in schools. Nearly 10,000 students were expelled from public schools for bringing a firearm to school in the 1996-98 school years under zero tolerance policies. [U.S. Dept. of Education, Report on State Implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act, 1997-98]

Launched the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. In 1996, President Clinton launched the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) in 17 cities to help trace crime guns to their source, as well as identify and arrest violent gun criminals and the adults who illegally supply firearms to youth. Since then, the President has expanded the YCGII initiative to 37 cities. ATF agents now conduct more than 200,000 crime gun traces for local law enforcement every year -- nearly four times the number of crime guns traced in 1993. Since 1996, ATF has initiated over 640 gun trafficking investigations related to youth in YCGII cities that involved over 27,000 crime guns. The Presidentís FY 2001 budget proposes to increase YCGII to 50 cities with more ATF agents and additional resources to help more cities to trace crime guns. [White House Fact Sheet, 4/27/99; FY 2001 Budget, p. 110; ATF, Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative 27 Communities, 2/99; ATF, Commerce In Firearms in the United States, 2/00]

Held the First-Ever White House Conference on School Safety. On October 15, 1998, the President hosted the White House Conference on School Safety. The participants explored solutions to this national challenge: how do schools, families and communities work together to make sure that every child is safe in every school in America.

Engaging the Private Sector in Youth Violence Prevention: National Campaign Against Youth Violence. In August 1999, President Clinton announced the formation of an independent, national campaign to engage the private sector in addressing the problem of youth violence. The Campaign has developed anti-violence activities including a major media campaign, concerts, town hall meetings, and in-school and after-school programs. The Campaign also highlights effective youth violence initiatives in cities across the country.

Preventing Violence with the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative. Evidence shows that a comprehensive, integrated community-wide approach is an effective way to address the problems of school violence and alcohol and other drug abuse and promote healthy childhood. In 1998, President Clinton unveiled the Administration's Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS), an unprecedented joint effort involving the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services to help communities design and implement a comprehensive approach, including educational, mental health, social service, and law enforcement services for to help combat youth violence. SS/HS has provided $146 million to 77 local education authorities who have established formal partnerships with local mental health and law enforcement agencies. This year, the President has called for a $100 million expansion of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative.

Developed Comprehensive Anti-Drug Strategy Including a National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The President appointed Barry McCaffrey, a four-star general, to lead the Clinton-Gore Administration's anti-drug strategy as the nationís Drug Czar. In 1997, President Clinton and Director McCaffrey launched the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the largest targeted effort ever to teach youth about the dangers of drugs. The Campaign uses the full power of the modern media to encourage young people to reject drug use, and helps parents, teachers and other responsible adults talk to kids about drugs and get more involved in the lives of young people. Illicit drug use among young people age 12-17 declined from 1997 to 1998, and the average age of first-time use went up. Overall drug use is down since its peak in the 1970's, drug-related murders have fallen by 48 percent since 1992, and youth drug use is leveling off or declining. [Department of Health and Human Services Press Release 12/17/99; White House at Work, 2/8/99]

September 2000



A Nation Transformed

Progress By the Numbers

Supporting African Americans

Supporting Americans With Disabilities

Supporting Asian Pacific Americans

Working for Children and Families

Supporting America's Farmers and Rural Communities

Supporting Gay and Lesbian Americans

Supporting Hispanic Americans

Improving Mental Health

Supporting Native Americans

Supporting Senior Citizens

Supporting American Women

Supporting America's Working Families


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