January 26, 1998


Improving after-school care is integral to improving child care across our country... Through after-school programs we can bring parents the peace of mind that comes from knowing their children are safe. We can teach our children to say no to drugs, alcohol and crime and yes to reading sports and computers.

President Bill Clinton
January 26, 1998

Today, the President, Vice President and First Lady announce the details of the President's 21st Century Community Learning Program proposal to help communities create and expand quality before- and after-school programs. They also announce one of the largest private donations ever made to public education to enhance the quality of these programs.

A Huge Demand for After-School Programs: An estimated five million school-age children spend time as "latchkey kids" without adult supervision during a typical week. Research indicates that during these unsupervised hours children are more likely to engage in at-risk behavior, such as crime, drugs, and alcohol use. Young people need a safe place after school that provides enriching experiences for their physical well-being.

Making After-School Programs A National Priority. The President's balanced budget plan contains a national initiative to spark private sector and local community efforts to expand after-school care to half-a-million children. Called the 21st Century Learning Centers Program, the initiative will allow schools to stay open as safe havens in a cost-effective manner by primarily using public schools and their existing resources. It will also promote learning and enrichment programs in such areas as computer skills, the arts, drama, music, community service, and the basic skills. The President's budget will request $200 million per year, for a total of $1 billion over five years, reaching up to 500,000 children a year.

An Historic Public-Private Partnership: To demonstrate their commitment to the expansion of the successful 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, C.S. Mott Foundation will donate up to $55 million over 5 years to enhance the quality of before-and after-school programs and will provide needed technical assistance and training to communities starting or expanding these programs for children. This donation will also help the U.S. Department of Education offer regional conferences, beginning next week, to help communities nationwide learn about quality after-school care and take advantage of new federal funds for before-and after-school programs.

Programs That Makes A Difference: Later in the day, the First Lady will travel to the Harriett Tubman School in New York City to take a tour of their Virtual Y Program and to highlight how the Administration's after-school initiative will help ensure that children across the country will have access to similar programs. The Virtual Y after-school program is a partnership of the YMCA of Greater New York, the New York City Board of Education and the United Way of New York City, that helps children build academic skills while providing them with a safe and stimulating environment during the hours of the day when children are most at risk.

January 1998

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