Statement by the President: Too Many Working Families Still Struggle With the High Cost of Child Care (12/6/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
December 6, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is releasing
an important report showing that in 1999, States were able to provide child
care assistance to only 12 percent of all federally eligible low-income
working families.  Also today, the Children's Defense Fund is releasing a
report showing that the cost of child care is the greatest barrier
low-income families face in finding quality care for their children. These
new findings demonstrate that too many working families are still
struggling with the high cost of child care, and we must ensure America?s
families have access to affordable, quality child care so they can balance
their responsibilities both at work and at home.  Under my Administration,
federal funding for child care has more than doubled, and the 1996 welfare
reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion to provide child care
assistance to families moving from welfare to work and to other low-income
families, but we can do more.

     Two months ago, we reached a bipartisan agreement with Congress to
provide an $817 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block
Grant program, bringing funding to $2 billion.  In 2001, this increase
would enable the program to provide child care subsidies for nearly 200,000
more children. With these new resources, combined with the child care funds
provided as part of welfare reform, the program could serve more than 2.1
million children in 2001, an increase of nearly 1 million since 1997.  We
are still meeting only a fraction of the need, but this is a critical step
forward.  I urge Congress to complete the work it has left undone for more
than two months, and heed the message of these reports by increasing
funding for affordable, quality child care.  America?s working families
should not have to wait any longer.


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