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January 7, 1998

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Child Care That Strengthens American Families

" No government can raise or love a child. Mothers and fathers do. But government can empower Americans with the tools they need to meet their most vital responsibilities as parents and as workers. So today, I am proud to propose the single largest child care investment in the history of our nation. It is a comprehensive and fiscally-responsible plan to make child care more affordable and accessible, to raise the quality and assure the safety of care for millions of American families. This is an issue that touches nearly every family, one that should rise above politics and partisan interests."

President Bill Clinton
January 7, 1998


President Clinton announces an historic initiative to improve child care for America's working families. The initiative proposes approximately $20 billion over five years for child care, including elements to help working families pay for child care, build a good supply of after-school programs, improve the safety and quality of care, and promote early learning.

ENSURING AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, SAFE CHILD CARE. The President's child care initiative responds to the struggles our nation's working parents face in finding child care they can afford, trust and rely on. The new initiative:

Makes child care more affordable for working families. To help working families struggling to meet the costs of child care, the initiative invests $7.5 billion over five years to double the number of children receiving child care subsidies to more than two million by the year 2003. The initiative also increases tax credits for child care for three million families and provides tax credits to businesses that provide child care services to their employees.

Increases access to and promotes early learning and healthy child development. To improve early learning, the initiative includes $3 billion over five years to establish an Early Learning Fund that helps local communities improve the quality and safety of child care for children ages zero to five. The initiative also increases investment in Head Start and doubles the number of children served by Early Head Start to 80,000.

Improves the safety and quality of child care. To help ensure safe, quality child care, the initiative: steps up enforcement of state health and safety standards in child care settings, facilitates background checks on child care providers, increases scholarships and training for child care providers, and invests in child care research and evaluation.

Expands access to safe after-school care. To help create safe, positive learning environments for the more than five million school-age children who lack adult supervision during a typical week, the initiative provides after-school care for up to half a million children a year and improves coordination of federal after-school initiatives to help communities.

BUILDING STRONGER FAMILIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. This initiative is an important part of the President's agenda to strengthen America's families. Because of the President's leadership: federal funding for child care has increased by nearly 70% since 1993; the 1996 welfare reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion over six years; the Healthy Child Care America Initiative is ensuring that children in child care are in safe and healthy environments; Head Start funding has increased more than 57% since 1993, serving more than 830,000 children and their families; and the first ever White House conferences on child care and early development were held in 1997.

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